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Frequently Asked Questions


The bus did not show up on time for my child. How long should my child wait at the stop?
Your child should arrive at the bus stop at least five (5) minutes before the regular 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 for at least fifteen (15) minutes. Buses break down, roads are blocked or other emergencies occur, but there will always be a bus at every stop. If the wait becomes extreme, please call your zone area office.


What should be done if there is a transportation related problem after office hours?
The main transportation office is open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, during the school year. All Zone Area offices are open from 6:00 AM to 5:30 PM every scheduled school day. Click here to see Zone Area Assignments


My child’s bus is overcrowded. Can some children be placed on another bus?
School bus sizes are stated in terms of passenger capacity for elementary school-aged children. Elementary school students are assumed to ride three students per seat. Middle school students are assumed to ride two-three per seat. High school students are assumed to ride two per seat. If the bus has 3 elementary students or 2-3 middle students or 2 high school students in each seat, it may seem crowded but it will not be over capacity. It is our goal to fully utilize all the space on all the buses in our fleet.


I see buses all the time with only a few students on them. What are they doing?
Henrico County Public School buses make two to four runs into and out of schools every school day. We carry over 46,000 students to school and bring them home daily. On the majority of these runs, HCPS buses achieve a load factor of more than 80%. However, we have many special programs that require that students be transported considerable distances.

When transporting students to these special programs, the length of the time of the run sometimes makes it impossible to fully utilize the capacity of the bus. Example of these special programs would be:

  • Specialty Center Schools and Talented and Gifted Programs. These programs encompass multiple school boundaries and result in light loads due to the number of students involved and the time/mileage to the centralized locations.
  • Alternative Programs and Schools. These programs with limited enrollment and central locations result in light loads.
  • Exceptional Education Programs. These programs tend to be light loaded due to the small number of students assigned to centers and the boundary can be countywide.
Another reason is school boundaries. For example, Varina High School and Rolfe Middle School have a boundary stretching from Charles City County to the City of Richmond.


We live very far from the school and there is no bus stop near to my child.
The HCPS regulations provide for transportation for elementary students living in excess of three-tenths of a mile (.30) from the school and/or an existing school bus stop and for all secondary students living in excess of a half a mile (.50) from the school and/or an existing school bus stop. Regardless of the distance, transportation will be provided if the transportation office determines that unusual hazards make a walking route unsafe.


I drove it in my car and we live more than that distance from school.
Supervisors measure all distances over the shortest, safest route between the property line of the residence and property line of the school. Car odometers are not accurate enough to precisely measure the distance.


But the walking route is not safe. Who do I contact about that?
If you believe an unsafe situation exists, address your concerns to the transportation office, with a “Request To Review Bus Stop” form.

This form is available at all schools. Compete the requested information and forward it to the transportation office. Staff familiar with the area and the traffic patterns will evaluate your concerns. If a further evaluation is required, the division of Police and the County Traffic Engineer offices will be consulted. If unusual hazards are identified, bus transportation will be provided.


Since you have non-transportation zones around schools, can I assume that my child is safe walking to the school (or those walking to bus stop location) if he or she takes the most direct or most reasonable route?
No. It is impossible for our staff to assess the safety of every possible walking route to a bus stop or a school. Every family may have a different definition of “most direct or reasonable route”. Even more important, what is “safe” varies from child to child. It is very important that you assess your child’s age and maturity before permitting him or her to walk unaccompanied to school or a bus stop. Keep in mind that children younger than age 9 or 10 often do not make good decisions regarding traffic safety and generally should be accompanied by an adult or responsible older child. Regardless of the child’s age, if the child’s behavior or maturity suggests that he or she will be unsafe without adult or other supervision, or if the parents have any concerns about the conditions on the route, parents should provide that supervision on the walking route and/or at the bus stop.


I cannot see my child’s bus stop from my house. How can I get the bus stop moved closer?
Bus stops are placed at centralized locations that can be safely accessed by a significant number of students to minimize the length of time and mileage of the run. If you have concerns about your child’s safety you are encouraged to accompany your child to the bus stop or arrange a neighborhood buddy to walk with your child. Elementary children may be required to walk up to three tenths (.30) of a mile to a bus stop. Secondary students may be required to walk up to a half of a mile (.50) to a bus stop.


We live within the non-transportation zone of the school but very close to a bus stop for my child. Will transportation be provided for my child?
No. School bus transportation is not provided for students residing within the established non-transportation zone of a school.


What are the different types of school buses?
HCPS has several types of school buses. There are Type-D or “Transit” style buses that have a flat front, like GRTC metro buses. Some of these buses are rear-engine; others have the engine in the front. The benefits of this design affords the driver excellent forward visibility, and since there is no large hood, it is easier and safer for the driver to check the engine prior to driving. Practically all of the buses that HCPS has bought since 1995 have been this type of bus.

The second style of bus is the Type-C or “Conventional” style buses, which is the traditional style with the long forward hood.


In terms of bus sizes, there are the large buses that are used for most students. These include 78-passenger and 72-passenger “Transit” buses and a lot of the older 64-passenger “Conventional” buses. The smaller buses range in size from 20-passenger to 54-passenger buses, which many of these are equipped with wheelchair lifts. Therefore, a lift-equipped bus will carry far fewer passengers than a non-equipped bus.

All of our buses are equipped with:

  • Two-way radios
  • Diesel engines
  • Swing-out “crossing guards” and stop arms
  • Eight-lamp traffic warning lights
  • Some of our buses are equipped with the following items:
    • Roof-mounted strobe lights
    • Monitor video cameras
    • Air brakes and automatic transmissions

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