Mill Valley Frequently Asked questions:
Q: Is the Mill Valley School District required to provide transportation to general education students?
No. Mill Valley School District is not required to provide transportation services for its general education students, as it does not receive State funds to do so.
Q: Which schools and neighborhoods will be served?
The following routes are part of the 2 year pilot progam:
Edna Maguire – Downtown Mill Valley & Homestead Valley
Mill Valley MS – Strawberry & Downtown Mill Valley
Strawberry Point – Downtown Mill Valley
The routes and schools were chosen based on the results of the District's survey of parents, student home locations, and potential traffic congestion relief. As this is a pilot, the program has been limited to three schools. Each route serves a specific neighborhood that was identified as having the greatest need and/or potential ridership. After the pilot period is complete, the District will be evaluating the program and available resources to determine whether other routes can be added for future years.
Q: Is the school district operating the buses?
No. MVSD is not funded, equipped, or staffed to operate transportation services. The District is contracting for the operations of the buses with a local school bus provider, Michael’s Transportation. Michael’s Transportation has over 35 years of experience in the industry and they currently operate yellow bus service for several other schools in Marin County, such as Marin Academy, Mark Day School, Marin Primary and public and private schools throughout the Bay Area.
Q: Who will be allowed to ride the bus?
The yellow bus services will be available to students attending Mill Valley Middle School, Edna Maguire, and Strawberry Point schools. Only students who have purchased a pass will be transported. Routes will be specific to the schools and students. The general public is not allowed to ride on the bus.
Q: How safe are the buses?
School buses are some of the safest vehicle on the road today. According the National Safety Council Statistics, school buses are 172 times safer than passenger cars in terms of occupant deaths per 100 million passenger miles traveled. School buses rank much better than any other form of surface transportation. In addition to the Michael’s regular maintenance program, California Highway Patrol (CHP) conducts annual terminal inspections and quarterly vehicle inspections.
Q: What are the qualifications of the drivers?
Michael’s drivers are fully certified, courteous, and professional, and trained at their own MTS Training Academy. This Academy is one of the only independent, state-certified driver training programs in California.
In addition to the commercial vehicle and passenger endorsements needed to drive a transit bus, Yellow bus drivers transporting students must also obtain a School Pupil Activity Bus (SPAB) certification. This certification process trains drivers on issues specific to student transportation and also includes fingerprinting and a background check.
Q: How do I buy a pass?
2018-19 passes will be sold on June 7, 2018 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased online at millvalleyschoolbus.com using a Visa, Master Card, American Express, or Discover credit card. AM and PM passes are sold separately. For a round trip, you will need to choose an AM product plus a PM product and add them both to your cart before completing the check-out procedure.
If you have an outstanding balance from the prior year's purchase, then you are not allowed to purchase a pass for the new school year until the outstanding balance has been paid.
Q: How much does it cost?
Annual passes are $360.00 each way, which breaks down to about $2.00 per trip. All passes can be purchased online at millvalleyschoolbus.com using a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit card.
Pay in Full
Pay in 10 Monthly Payments (includes $3.60/month/pass processing fee)
(10 x $39.60)
Parents will have the option to pay the full amount at once or pay over 10 months. If selecting a monthly payment option, the first monthly payment will be processed to your card upon placing your order. A $3.60 per month, per pass processing fee is included in the monthly price. The remaining payments will be charged as follows on the first of the month starting on September 1, 2018. The last payment will be due on May 1, 2019.
Families that qualify for the free or reduced lunch program can get 50% off the pass price. To apply for a discounted pass, please use the coupon code FREE&REDUCED at checkout. Your seat will be confirmed once your eligibility has been verified by the School District office. All passes are first-come, first-served. For any questions please contact Monica Wallace at the Mill Valley School District office at (415) 389-7751.
Not at this time. Discounts will be considered for future years.
Q: Are there limited seats available?
Yes. Each school and each route has a limited number of seats available for sale and routes will close once all seats are purchased. Purchasing your seat early will help ensure your student gets a seat. You will have the option to join a waitlist for available seats if buses sell out.
Q: Do you pro-rate the price of the pass during the year?
Yes. If you move to the area or decide to use the bus after the school year begins, passes will be pro-rated based on the time left in the school year. However, availability of these passes is based on unsold seats.
Q: When will I receive my student’s pass?
Bus passes will be mailed to your home address before the first day of school.
Q: Do kids need to show a pass to board the bus?
Yes. Students will receive a bus-specific pass based on the bus stop and route selected at the time of purchase. Students must carry this pass whenever they ride the bus, even if the driver already knows them.
Q: What if my child loses the bus pass?
Contact the Marin Transit Operations Analyst at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a new pass.
Q: Do you sell single use or weekly passes?
Unfortunately single use passes are not available at this time, but may be considered in the future.
Q: Can I get a refund?
There are no refunds, including a situation where the student’s bus pass has been revoked due to not following the rules. The only exception is if your child moves away from the District. Your refund will be pro-rated based on time remaining on the pass. No refunds will be allowed for any circumstances after April 5, 2019.
Q: Does a pass entitle my student to ride any yellow bus he/she chooses?
Passes are specific to a bus and route and the driver expects your student to board and disembark at the same location and time.
Q: When does the bus arrive at school?
All routes are timed to arrive at school 10-15 minutes before the start of school.
Q: When does the bus leave school?
Routes are designed to leave approximately 10-20 minutes after the release bell. There will be no afternoon bus service for transitional kindergarten (TK) or kindergarten dismissal times.
Q: What about Early Release and Minimum Days?
Routes will adjust to meet early release and minimum days at all schools served. The School District will actively coordinate with Marin Transit and Michael’s Transportation to ensure buses are available when students need transportation. There will be no afternoon bus service for transitional kindergarten (TK) or kindergarten dismissal times.
Q: Why do you want children at the stop 5 minutes early?
State law requires drivers to stop traffic and escort children to the bus if they are not already standing at the stop. This delays our schedules and may disrupt traffic. We also don't want students to miss the bus by cutting it too close in the morning. Our drivers try to stick to the published schedule, but sometimes there may be adjustments or delays.
Q: What if my child misses the bus?
That does sometimes happen to some children, so please be prepared. Every family should have a backup plan where their child(ren) have a way to contact a parent/guardian or neighbor that can get them to school, or that they can notify if they plan to walk.
Q: What if the bus is late?
This sometimes happens due to traffic or mechanical problems. Parents can sign-up to be notified via text message or email if any bus is running late. Our bus operator will have a replacement bus on the way in case of a significant mechanical problem. To check on a late bus call Marin Transit’s Operations Analyst at 415-226-0863.
Q: Who do I call if there is a problem?
If it involves Lost & Found or any issue relating directly to a bus or driver, call Marin Transit’s Operations Analyst, Jennifer Saechao, at 415-226-0863.
Q: Can my child be assigned to more than one stop?
All students are assigned to one stop on the route.
Q: Can my child get off at a different stop?
Drivers expect students to only travel to/from their assigned stop. This is done for safety reasons and allows the drivers to better monitor students. Kindergarten and 1st grade students must be met by a parent in the afternoon.
Q: Can my child bring a friend home on the bus?
Yes, if the student has a yellow bus pass.
Q: What if my child has to cross the street?
Marin Transit will work with Michael’s Transportation following the bus pass sign-up period to identify safe and convenient bus stops. If needed, yellow buses also have the ability to stop oncoming traffic and allow the student to cross in front of the bus.
Q: Can riders open the windows?
Yes, kids are allowed to open the windows, except when common sense or the bus driver dictates otherwise.
Q: Can riders stick anything out the windows?
No. No part of a child's body should ever extend through a window, and no item of any kind may be thrown out a window.
Q: How is discipline carried out onboard the bus?
Drivers are responsible for maintaining proper student supervision and monitoring of all student onboard. Drivers are assigned to a specific route and you and your student should expect the same driver every day.
Q: What happens if a child doesn't follow the rules?
A verbal warning will first be issued to the student by the Driver and documented with the school coordinator. If the student continues to violate student behavior guidelines, then an Incident Report Form will be filed and sent to the school. The school may take appropriate disciplinary action and the riding privilege can either be suspended or permanently revoked without refund.
Q: Can my bus pass be taken away?
Yes. If your child does not respond to the progressive discipline assigned, your pass may be suspended or revoked without refund.
Q: Are parents financially responsible for vandalism?
Yes, parents/guardians are financially responsible for vandalism caused by their child.
Q: What if my child is being bullied?
Contact your school principal or the school transportation coordinator (contact info here) immediately.
Q: What if my child is accused of bullying?
Your child may be entered into a progressive discipline process. If bullying is happening and does not cease, your child may be temporarily suspended from the bus, and/or may have the annual pass revoked without refund.