Cincinnati Public Schools' elementary school students are transported to and from schools on yellow buses. CPS leases yellow-bus service from five vendors, which own the yellow buses and hire the drivers.
(For yellow bus transportation forms, scroll down this page.)
ZPass Student Tracking System
Parents and CPS staff can track when a student gets on and off a yellow bus with a free program called ZPass. Each student swipes a bus pass when boarding and exiting the yellow bus, and parents are notified on their phones or via e-mail with the instant information.
Parents sign up online at My First Pass for the ZPass service.
Yellow Bus Delays
Cincinnati Public Schools notifies parents by automatic phone calls when yellow buses are 15 minutes or more behind schedule. Please make sure CPS has all correct phone numbers for your child. Parents may list up to three phone numbers in PowerSchool, and/or phone numbers can be updated with the office staff at your child’s school.
Notification to Parents' Phones of Yellow-Bus Delays (one-page PDF)
Consolidating bus stops is critical in order to operate an efficient transportation program in a large urban district such as Cincinnati. Grouping students who live close to one another at the same bus stop allows for more efficient bus routes. CPS' Pupil Transportation Branch makes every effort to place bus stops between one-fourth and one-half mile apart.
Assignment of bus stops is based on the student's legal residence, which parents give to the student's school. When a family moves, it is critical that the family's new address be given to the child's school prior to the move because a different stop location may be assigned based on the new address.
Bus stops will meet safety rules regardless of the distance between stops, so it may not be possible to place bus stops in locations that allow parents to observe their children at the stops from their homes. Parents/guardians are responsible for students' safety between homes and the bus stops.
CPS' Pupil Transportation Branch is responsible for recommending bus stops to the Cincinnati Board of Education. The board then approves the yellow-bus stops annually in the summer, according to Ohio law.
Designation of yellow-bus stops is done in compliance with Ohio law and Ohio Department of Education safety operational rules. Bus stop locations must be within one-half mile of the student's legal residence or an alternate address identified by the parent/guardian. A key requirement for assignment of a bus stop is visibility from a distance of 500 feet by oncoming motorists. Assigning bus stops within one-fourth of a mile of students' residences is the district's goal to keep walking distance to a minimum. New bus-stop locations are created only when necessary to meet the distance requirement or to address new safety issues.
Students will be assigned the same stop location in both the morning and afternoon, five days a week, unless specific restrictions apply. In areas where it can be done safely, students can be assigned a stop location across the street from where the bus will load and unload.
Students are not assigned bus stop locations that require crossing four-lane roadways. The Pupil Transportation Branch also has designated certain streets or portions of streets as "No Cross" by students to reach bus stops. Students are not assigned bus stop locations that require them to cross one of these designated streets.
Some streets have been designated as "Right-Side Restricted," meaning that students assigned to that bus stop must be able to reach the stop from the right side of the street, instead of having to cross the street in front of the bus.
Requesting Changes in Bus Stop Locations
Parents/guardians may request a change in a morning and/or afternoon bus stop location to accommodate child care or other special circumstances by filling out the Transportation Request Form - Change in Yellow Bus Service (form below).
Yellow Bus Tranportation Request Forms
Requesting Service Form 2016-17 - requesting space on a yellow bus or asking to reinstate bus service
Change in Yellow Bus Service 2016-17 - requesting change in bus stop location or to request child care drop off
Latch Key Authorization / Alternative Bus Stop 2016-17
Provisions for Students with Special Needs and Kindergarteners
Kindergarten students and students with special needs who receive curb-to-curb bus service require special care at bus stops by both bus drivers and parents. These students will not be picked up or dropped off unless an authorized person is there to supervise.
Only parents/guardians are authorized to meet the child at the stop location. If the parent/guardian wishes to identify a designee to meet the child at the bus stop, the request must be submitted on the Transportation Request Form - Latch Key Authorization (form above).
If the parent/guardian wants to allow the student to get off the bus without supervision, this request must be submitted on the Transportation Request Form - Latch Key Authorization (form above). Parents/guardians requesting the Latch Key option assume all responsibility for the child before and after the bus leaves the stop location. The Pupil Transportation Branch does not encourage use of the Latch Key option but will honor the request of the parent/guardian.
Parents/guardians must keep a child's school updated with the names and current phone numbers of Emergency Contact people.
If a child's Emergency Contacts cannot be reached, the child will be transported to Children's Protective Services (241-Kids or 241-5437), 222 E. Central Parkway, Cincinnati. A note will be placed on the parent's/guardian's front door informing them of the child's location. Charges of child abandonment may be filed. School bus service will not be provided until a meeting is held with the Pupil Transportation Branch, the school and the parent/guardian. Repeated incidents will result in loss of school bus service.