The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) is responsible for the management and administration of all home to school transportation on behalf of the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB).
Yellow school bus transportation is provided to students depending on their grade level and the distance from their home or caregiver to the school within that boundary. Certain high school students with access to public transit (OC Transpo) will be provided with passes or tickets for the months of September to June.
Eligibility for yellow school bus transportation
Transportation is provided for students who reside (or caregiver resides) within specific distances from their school. If the residential or caregiver address is less than the designated distances detailed below, then the student falls within the walkzone, and transportation will not be provided. Transportation is not provided for students attending schools outside of their regular attendance boundary.
- Junior & Senior Kindergarten – 0.8 km or more from their home school
- Grades 1 through 8 – 1.6 km or more from their home school
- Grades 9 through 12 – 3.2 km or more from their home school
Meeting kindergarten students at their stop
Parents/guardians of kindergarten students have a responsibility to meet their child at the bus stop every day, or to notify the school of the alternate responsible person who will be meeting their child.
Requests for bus stop changes
Changes to transportation services must be made directly to OSTA, who will prioritize requests based on safety concerns, urgency, and volume of requests. Visit OSTA’s website to:
- request a bus stop change
- report a walking hazard
- report a service issue (such as delays)
- discuss eligibility and alternate services
Variable transportation for students with two homes
The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) has a new policy and procedure to deliver transportation services to students in a joint custody arrangement and having two homes. Both homes must be within the attendance boundary and eligible for transportation. A formal application process requires that both parents and/or guardians sign the application and provide a schedule. Read more about variable transportation.
Applying for an empty seat on a bus
Where school bus routes have been established and there are empty seats on a bus, students may be provided transportation even though they reside in the designated walkzone. School principals will review a list of prioritized students, and will have the opportunity to advise OSTA of recommended changes. Fill out the Empty Seat (Seat Availability) application form.
Transportation for students with special needs
Students with physical or mental disabilities may be eligible for transportation as approved by the OCSB’s Student Services Department. Proper documentation is necessary to initiate special transportation, including any subsequent address or time changes. A Request for Special Transportation form must be completed by a school official and forwarded to Student Services for consideration and approval. Once approved, the form is received by OSTA where transportation will be arranged, and the designated taxi / van operator will contact parents directly with the arrangements and effective date.
Visit OSTA’s website to see if your address is eligible for transportation services, to view yellow school bus and OC Transpo bus route schedules, and more!
Bus cancellations due to inclement weather
Transportation cancellations due to bad weather or poor road conditions are posted on OSTA’s website by 6:15 am. When transportation is cancelled due to bad weather or poor road conditions, transportation is cancelled for all schools. There are several ways in which you can stay on top of bus cancellations.
Subscribe to OSTA’s mailing list to receive email notifications of transportation cancellations right to your handheld device or personal computer.
Watch OSTA’s website after 6:15 am to see if a cancellation has been posted to their Transportation Monitor, or if there will be significant delays in service.
Listen to the radio after 6:15 am for announcements which are repeated at least twice per hour. Stations such as 580 CFRA FM, Hot 89.9 FM and 1310 on your AM dial.
School bus safety video
Follow Buzzy the Bee as he flies you through the ins and outs of riding the school bus for the first time. This first-time rider training video teaches children and their families about danger zones, what not to touch, and how to wait, ride, and disembark from a school bus safely. It also shares tips on how to sit properly and ask for help.
OSTA school bus safety