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Transportation » Transportation

Transportation

Welcome to the Portage Township Schools Transportation Department!
The Portage Township Schools Transportation Department is dedicated to providing students and staff the safest and most efficient means of transportation possible.
We encourage everyone to report Stop Arm violations, as doing so helps us keep students safe as they travel to and from school. Click here to report a stop arm violation.
PTS Transportation Department
3300 Airport Road, Portage, IN 46368
Office: (219) 763-8080
Fax: (219) 763-3302
RULES
  • Obey the driver at all times.
  • Obey the driver at all times.
  • Follow all directions given by the driver when boarding and departing the bus. Do not cross the street until directed by the driver.
  • The school bus is an extension of your school; therefore, all rules and code of conduct apply while riding the bus.
  • Be seated immediately and properly (bottom on bottom, back on back and feet on floor in front of you) upon entering the bus in the seat assigned by the driver. Once on the bus, remain on board sitting properly until your stop, unless instructed by the driver.
  • No standing or moving place to place during the trip (stay seated).
  • Loud, boisterous or profane language or indecent conduct will not be tolerated.
  • No windows or doors will be opened or closed except by permission of the driver.
  • Students are required to be at their stops 10 minutes prior to the scheduled bus arrival time.
  • Only regularly assigned students are allowed to ride the buses. Special permission to ride the bus may be granted by the Principal and/or the Director of Transportation.
  • Drivers are required to pick-up and drop-off students at their assigned stops only! Requests for exceptions to this rule must put in writing and approved by the principal in advance. There will be no exceptions!
  • No eating, drinking or chewing gum on the bus.
  • No animals, insects or other matter, which, in the opinion of the driver could be a deterrent to control or discipline, shall be allowed on board.
  • No skateboards, basketballs or any other objects that would be considered flying projectiles by state law and transportation are allowed on the bus.
 
CONSEQUENCES
  1. Driver warning
  2. Driver warning and seat change
  3. Referred to building principal
  4. 1 to 3-day removal
  5. 5 to 10 day removal
  6. Removal for remainder of semester
  7. Removal for rest of school year
* Some offenses will result immediate removal from the bus. Including but not limited to the following:
  • Fighting
  • Threatening violence
  • Throwing objects
  • Damaging bus
  • Disrespecting the bus driver
School bus conduct and safety rules for pupils are as follows:
  • Only the driver, students, and authorized personnel are allowed to ride a bus.
  • The bus driver has the same relationship to the child as does the school teacher. It is his/her duty to maintain order on the bus at all times.
  • Upon recommendation of the bus driver, school authorities can deny the privilege of riding the bus to any pupil who refuses to follow the rules listed below.
  • The student will:
  • Obey the driver promptly and respectfully. He/she is working for your safety; you must realize that the driver has a big responsibility and that it is your job to help.
  • Be careful in approaching bus stops, walk on left facing on-coming traffic if there are no sidewalks along the roadside. On leaving the bus, if student is to cross the street, walk 10 steps ahead of the bus and wait for the driver to signal student to cross; never cross behind the bus.
  • Avoid standing or playing on the road while waiting for the bus.
  • Not destroy or damage surrounding property in any way while waiting for the bus. (Such damage results in discontinuance of bus "stops").
  • Help keep the bus on schedule. Be at your stop ten (10) minutes before scheduled stop time.
  • Not enter or leave the bus until it has come to a full stop and the door has been opened by the driver.
  • Take his/her turn and avoid pushing when entering or leaving the bus.
  • Be seated promptly and be careful not to block the aisles. No one is permitted to save seats. Remain seated until the bus stops. The driver has the authority to assign seats as he/she feels it is necessary.
  • Remember that loud talking or laughing or unnecessary confusion diverts the driver's attention and may result in a serious accident. Classroom conduct is expected except for conversation in normal tones. There must be absolute quiet at railroads and major intersections.
  • Not use profane language and will not show indecent conduct.
  • Not be allowed to tease, scuffle, or handle each other.
  • Not be permitted to open or close windows or doors except by permission of the driver.
  • Treat bus equipment as valuable furniture in the home. Help keep the bus clean, sanitary and orderly. Deposit garbage in container at the front of the bus. No food or drink shall be consumed on the bus. Those who damage the bus will be expected to pay the damages.
  • Do not smoke on the bus.
 
NEVER, NEVER CROSS IN BACK OF THE BUS!
Parents and students are requested to know the importance of the "DANGER ZONE" illustrated in the diagram below. This is the area around the school bus where it is extremely difficult for a driver to see a child.
The Portage Township Schools' Transportation Department encourages your advice on ways to improve the student transportation operation. Contact the Transportation Department office at 219-763-8080.
The following information will ensure a safe ride for your children:
  • Only enrolled students will be transported to and from school at their designated bus stops.
  • Students are to ride the school bus as assigned to them by the Transportation Department according to their home address.
  • Students needing to go to another address must have a note of parent permission approved by the building principal and given to the school bus driver. Parents/ Guardians must inform transportation at 219-763-8080. Students without notes will not be allowed to ride.
  • Parents must provide the driver with an address and phone number to drop students at in case of early dismissal or emergency. Students should know this information as well.
  • Parents are requested to inform the school office of any serious medical problems so the driver may be alerted to any special medical needs. Examples of these are allergies, asthma, seizures, diabetes or low blood sugar.
  • Except in the case of an emergency or an evacuation drill, students shall enter or exit the bus by the front door only.
  • All students will be instructed on emergency evacuation procedures by their drivers. All students will take part in the six (6) required evacuation drills per year.
Portage Township Schools will transport all students who reside in the district and who live outside the established walking boundaries.

Students will be expected to walk a reasonable distance to the school in which they are enrolled. The maximum walking distance shall not exceed one (1) mile for students in grades K-8 and one and one-half (1 1/2) miles for students in grades 9-12. The walking distance shall be considered as the shortest, most reasonable and safest route to walk to school.
 
Students who are transported may be required to walk a reasonable distance to established collection points. For each bus route, the established collection point(s) shall be determined by the Superintendent of Schools or a designee. The distance a student may be required to walk to a collection point shall not exceed one (1) mile for students in grades K-8 and one and one-half (1-1/2) miles for students in grades 9-12.
 
Using the above guidelines, Kindergarten students assigned to morning classes will walk or be transported to school by the Portage Township Schools. Morning kindergarten students will either walk or be provided transportation home at dismissal. Kindergarten students assigned to afternoon classes will either walk or be provided transportation to school. At dismissal, afternoon kindergarten students will walk or be transported home according to the above guidelines.

All Kindergarten students will have only one drop off point for the school year. Kindergarten students must be met at the bus stop by a parent or guardian. Any kindergarten student not met at their stop will be returned to school. Parents may authorize an older sibling to be responsible to meet the kindergarten student by providing written permission to the bus driver.
School bus drivers are charged with the responsibility to safely transport students to and from school each day. They must maintain order and discipline and see that no student is mistreated. They use every precaution for the safety of the children under their care. They must maintain a schedule and advise the school of any way to improve the student transportation operation. These drivers are highly trained in classroom and road experience, carrying a Commercial Driver License (CDL) and State Certification.
 
To become a bus driver for PTS:
This position is a part time job. Training is provided to you at no charge. This is a fantastic job for stay at home Parents! You are home when your children are home and have summers and holidays off. If you are interested in becoming a school bus driver please fill out an online application HERE.
Training includes the following items:
  • Pre-trip inspection training
  • Behind the wheel training
  • Observation time on bus with a licensed CDL driver
  • Student discipline
  • Maintaining Bus State Requirements:
  • Permits for knowledge, school bus, passenger, and air brake
  • 3 day class conducted by the state
  • CDL physical and physical fitness certificate
  • Bus permit which is obtained when you are registered for 3 day class
 
Portage Township Schools participate in a random drug and alcohol testing pool and pre-employment testing. This is done by an outside state approved agency. We also do a criminal background check and driver's license check.
In addition to the yellow school buses, Portage Township Schools uses Special Purpose Vehicles. These white mini-buses are used by teachers and coaches to transport small groups of students to activities or events.

To ensure the students are safe while in these vehicles, the teachers and coaches are trained for use of these vehicles. Their licenses are checked prior to vehicle use, and rechecked annually.

Anyone with questions should contact the transportation department.
If conditions warrant school cancellations, PTS will endeavor to notify the media prior to 6:00 a.m. 
 
School Delay Policy
If a school delay is announced, the delay will be for ALL Portage Township Schools, K-12, and the length of the declared delay will be for two (2) hours.  There will be NO AM Kindergarten classes for S.E.L.F school.  When a two (2) hour delay is announced, the school starting times will be as follows:
Elementary Schools - 10:55 a.m.
Portage High School - 9:30 a.m.
Fegely Middle School - 10:00 a.m.
Willowcreek Middle School - 9:30 a.m.
 
Bus times will be approximately two hours later than regular times (i.e. if your bus pick-up is normally 6:55 a.m., the adjusted time would be 8:55 a.m.)

Parochial school pick-up times will follow Portage High School or Willowcreek Middle School schedule.
 
If a delay is declared and conditions do not improve, a school cancellation notice will be announced. 
 
Emergency Dismissal
(When School is in Session)
Should an early dismissal be necessary due to weather conditions or other safety-related concerns, every effort will be made to announce the dismissal least one and one-half (1/1/2) hours prior to the actual dismissal times.  If all schools are dismissed, the secondary schools will be dismissed prior to dismissing elementary schools.  A notification to this effect will be issued to the media and will also be posted on this website. 
When schools are closed, all extra-curricular activities will be cancelled.
 
It is crucial that each family develop a "Plan of Action" for their children to follow in the event school dismisses early.  Waiting for the emergency is too late and may cause much anxiety.
 
The State of Indiana mandates that in many situations a scheduled school day that is cancelled must be made-up.  In the event a make-up day is necessary, parents will be informed.
Traffic around the Northwest Indiana area and around Chicago is often congested. The Indiana Department of Transportation provides this link to give up-dated congestion and road closures of this area.
 
Portage Township Schools utilizes Versatrans E-Link to schedule bus routes, numbers, and stops for our students. Click here to access Versatrans E-Link.

Logging into Versatrans E-Link
If you are logging into Versatrans E-Link for the first time or your password has been reset, follow the instructions below to log in and access your child's bus information.
  1. Click here to access the Versatrans E-Link login page.
  2. In the "user name" field, type in your child's school ID number. This can be found in the PowerSchool Parent Portal in the Demographics tabs. (You must use the web version. The PowerSchool app does not list the ID number.)
  3. In the "password" field, type in your child's birthdate as MMDDYYYY. For example, a student with a birthdate of January 1, 2001 would have the password 01012001.
  4. You will be prompted to change your password. Please enter a new password and write it down for future reference.