Frequently Asked Questions

How many children ride school buses?

In the United States, about 23,500,000 children ride school buses between home and school. That's about 55 percent of the K-12 population. When you multiply the daily ridership times the number of school days, school buses provide the United States with an estimated 10 billion student rides annually.


Why are school buses painted yellow?

In 1939, delegates to the first National Minimum Standards Conference wanted a uniform color so school buses would be recognized by the same color nationwide. A second consideration was cost since manufacturers charged additional for special colors. Plus, delegates concluded that for safety sake, yellow was easier to see in fog, rain, and other bad weather conditions.

National School Bus Chrome Yellow was first adopted at that conference. By the way, the conference was held at Teachers College, Columbia University, April 10-16, 1939. All 48 states were represented, usually by someone from the state department of education. The group called itself the "National Council of Chief State School Officers," and H.E. Hendrix, State Superintendent of Public Instruction of Arizona, was the first president. In 1974 the federal government approved Standard 17. In this standard, which has since been revised and is now a highway safety guideline, the federal government suggested that school buses should be painted National School Bus Chrome Yellow. That's when the states started to use yellow on all new buses. At present there is no federal law that requires school buses to be painted yellow. It is up to each state to do so. Some states, South Carolina for example, paint some of their school buses, in this case activity buses, white though the bulk of the state's fleet is painted school bus yellow.


What is the number of persons that can safely sit on a school bus seat?

Federal regulation does not specify the number of persons that can sit on a school bus seat. The school bus manufacturers determine the maximum seating capacity of a school bus. School transportation providers generally determine the number of persons that they can safely fit into a school bus seat. Generally they fit three smaller elementary school age persons or two adult high school age persons into a typical 39 inch school bus seat.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that all passengers be seated entirely within the confines of the school bus seats while the bus is in motion. Federal motor vehicle safety standard No. 222, "School Bus Passenger Seating and Crash Protection" requires that the interior of large buses provide occupant protection so that children are protected without the need to buckle-up. Occupant crash protection is provided by a protective envelope consisting of strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs. Persons not sitting or sitting partially outside of the school bus seats will not be afforded the occupant protection provided by the school bus seats.


How safe are school buses?

According to the National Safety Council, school buses are the safest form of ground transportation. In fact they are about 40 times safer then the family car


The bus didn't show up on time for my child. How long should he/she wait at the stop?

Your child should arrive at the stop at least five minutes before the scheduled arrival time of the bus. If there is a substitute driver, the times may not be absolutely consistent with the regular times. If the bus is late ask your child to remain at the stop. Buses break down, roads are blocked, drivers become ill or have emergencies, but there will always be a bus at every stop. If the wait becomes extreme (approximately 30 minutes), for Regular Ed please call (562) 426-6176 and for Special Ed please call (562) 424-5195.


What should be done if there is a transportation-related problem after office hours?

Call School Safety at (562) 997-8101. School Safety has a listing of contact telephone numbers for transportation supervisors and are able to contact those staff members required to handle any type of situation regarding school buses.


My child is a special needs student. To whom should I speak concerning his transportation when he/she is ill and on vacation?

Please call Special Ed Dispatch at (562) 424-5195.


My child left a coat (glasses, instrument, retainer, books) on the bus. How does he get it back?

Call Regular Ed Dispatch at (562) 426-6176 or Special Ed Dispatch at (562) 424-5195.


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Department Address
2700 Pine Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90806

Department Phone
(562) 426-6176