Frequently Asked Questions
BUS REGISTRATION QUESTIONS
IS REGISTRATION OPEN ONLINE FOR THE 2022-2023 SCHOOL YEAR?
Registration for bus service will be done during Annual Enrollment via Home Access Center from July 19 - August 6, 2022. Transportation will receive the request once the Annual Enrollment form has been completed. All route information will be issued on the SMART Tag Parent Portal once your student has been assigned to a bus.
If you're not able to find your bus route information using your SMART Tag Parent Portal, the Transportation Department is still in the process of assigning students to bus routes. Please be patient with the process. Our goal is to have all bus route information updated and ready for distribution using your SMART Tag Parent Portal by Thursday, August 11th.
SMART TAG QUESTIONS
WHERE DOES MY CHILD GET HIS/HER SMART TAG ID?
Each student will be provided a SMART Tag ID from their campus.
WILL MY CHILD BE ABLE TO RIDE THE BUS WITHOUT THE SMART TAG ID?
Students are expected to scan their ID cards when boarding and exiting the bus. Continuous failure to have the ID card will result in disciplinary action and could lead to losing bus privileges.
WHAT IF MY STUDENT HAS LOST HIS/HER SMART TAG ID CARD?
Replacement cards must be requested and obtained from your child’s campus.
WHY IS MY CHILD NOT ALLOWED TO RIDE THE SAME BUS THEY HAVE ALL YEAR?
In most cases, this means your child was not riding their assigned bus all year. Now that SMART Tag is being fully utilized and strictly enforced, students will not be allowed to ride a bus that they are not assigned. If you do not have your child's correct bus information, please contact the Transportation Department.
WHY CAN'T THE DRIVER DROP OFF MY CHILD AT ANOTHER STOP?
Drivers do not have the authority to drop a student off at any other stop other than the student's assigned stop. One of the main features to the SMART Tag system is that it ensures your child is dropped off at the correct location by utilizing the stop information provided, whether your regular driver or a sub driver is driving your child's bus.
WHY DOES MY CHILD HAVE TO WEAR THE SMART TAG ID?
All students are required to wear their SMART Tag ID when utilizing bus service because it allows for the quickest and most efficient process when loading and exiting the bus. Delays to transportation occur when the students do not have their ID available to scan quickly.
Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, First, and Second-grade students must attach the SMART Tag to the upper right side of their backpack strap.
Students in Third through Twelfth-grade must wear their SMART tag around their neck on a breakaway lanyard.
WILL MASKS BE REQUIRED ON THE SCHOOL BUS?
As of right now, masks will be optional on our school buses. Under Governor Greg Abbott’s current order, public schools can no longer require masks starting June 5, 2021.
WHO SHOULD I CALL IF THE BUS DOES NOT ARRIVE TO PICK MY CHILD UP ON TIME?
Students should be waiting at their assigned bus stop 7-10 minutes before their scheduled pick-up time. If it has been ten minutes after the scheduled pick-up time, you should call the Transportation Department. Please have your child's name, student ID, bus number, campus, and stop location ready.
WHAT ARE THE HOURS OF OPERATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT?
The Transportation Department is open from 5:00 am until 6:00 pm on school days.
IS LIVE AUDIO & VIDEO SURVEILLANCE IN PROGRESS?
Drivers and passengers are subject to audio and video monitoring according to Texas Education Code section 26.009(b)(1). Videotapes may be viewed by Tomball ISD employees if necessary to perform their job duties in the best interest of students. Parents are not permitted to view the tapes because it would infringe on the privacy of other students, as protected under the Family Education Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA). Videotapes will be strictly controlled by the Transportation Department to ensure confidentiality.
CAN THE DRIVER STOP AT MY HOUSE TO PICK UP OR DROP OFF MY CHILD?
In most cases, this request would be considered a curbside stop. We do not offer this type of service on regular-ed bus routes.
WHO SHOULD I REPORT MY ADDRESS OR TELEPHONE NUMBER CHANGES?
The campus registrar should be contacted as soon as possible with all address and telephone number changes. The registrar will put the information into the system allowing visibility to the Transportation Department.
WHY DOESN’T SOMEONE CALL ME WHEN THE SCHOOL BUS IS RUNNING LATE?
Situations such as traffic, road closures, weather, vehicle breakdowns, or a late prior route can cause school buses to run late. With the recent addition of Smart Tag, we can now send notifications in certain situations and notify the campus. Parents must set up their parent portal to receive notifications. We do not have the capabilities to call individual parents.
HOW WILL I BE NOTIFIED OF A CHANGE TO MY CHILD’S STOP TIME, STOP LOCATION, OR BUS NUMBER?
If the change in time is five minutes or less, the driver will notify the students of the change. If there is a change in stop location or bus assignment the Transportation Department will send written notification home with the students.
I WAS NOT AT THE BUS STOP ON TIME TO RECEIVE MY CHILD. NO ONE IS ANSWERING THE PHONE AT THE SCHOOL. WHAT DO I DO?
Calling the Transportation Department is usually the best option under these circumstances. The Transportation staff can assist you in locating your child.
I HAVE A QUESTION REGARDING A BUS STOP LOCATION OR PICK-UP/DROP-OFF TIME. WHO SHOULD I CALL?
Bus route information will be available in the Smart Tag Parent Portal. If you do not see bus information on your Parent Portal please contact the Transportation Department.
WHAT IF I WANT MY CHILD TO GET OFF AT A DIFFERENT BUS STOP?
Students of all ages and grades are only allowed to get off at their assigned stop. If a student exits the bus at another stop other than their assigned stop, they will then be subject to disciplinary action.
WHAT IF MY CHILD GOES TO DAYCARE OR AFTER-SCHOOL CARE?
They must be a state-recognized child care provider, including state-recognized in-home care providers.
Click here for a list of daycares and the campuses they service.
Students will not be approved to ride a different bus route other than what they are assigned. This assignment is determined by the destination listed at the time of registration. Bus passes for temporary changes will not be issued.
All requests for students to ride the bus to a destination other than the stop that services their residence will be approved at the discretion of the Tomball ISD Transportation Department. The requested destination must be in the attendance zone for the student's campus.
HOW DO THE BUS ROUTES WORK?
All bus routes are designed to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible while still meeting students' needs. When a route change is necessary that will affect pick-up/drop-off times and/or bus numbers, parents will be notified through notes handed out to students two afternoons prior to the date of the change.
If students are not present at a bus stop for three continuous weeks, the bus stop will be discontinued without notice to the parents. Parents must contact the Transportation Department to resume service to that stop.
DO BUSES ENTER CONSTRUCTION AREAS, PRIVATE PROPERTY AND GATED COMMUNITIES?
It is not recommended for Tomball ISD buses to operate on private property, including gated communities and apartment complexes. Neighborhoods that are under construction pose a safety hazard for large vehicles like school buses. Thus, buses do not travel through areas where heavy construction is present.
WHO DO I CONTACT FOR PERMISSION FOR MY CHILD TO RIDE ANOTHER BUS HOME WITH A FRIEND?
Students are not allowed to ride another bus unless they fall under our exemption status. They must ride the bus they are assigned. Bus passes to ride another bus home with a friend are no longer allowed. If you feel your child may fall under our exemption status, then please contact the Transportation Department.
I CANNOT SEE THE BUS STOP FROM MY HOUSE. HOW CAN I GET THE BUS STOP MOVED CLOSER?
Our bus stop locations are designed to be centralized for current and potential riders as well as being safely accessible by several students. By design, this will minimize the time and mileage of a route. If you have a concern about your child's safety, you are encouraged to accompany your child to the bus stop. It is safer to have several students wait at a stop versus an individual.
MY CHILD LEFT SOMETHING (JACKET, PHONE, INSTRUMENT, ETC.) ON THE BUS. HOW CAN WE GET IT BACK?
The drivers must check their buses after each run. Items left on the bus by students will be held by the driver and may be claimed by the child later. Fragile, expensive items are taken off the bus in the evening for their protection, but the driver will bring them back on the bus the next morning to be claimed. If an item does not get claimed, the driver will turn it into the campus lost and found or the Transportation Department if they are unsure which campus the item belongs to.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CHILD IS LATE FOR THE BUS IN THE AFTERNOON?
Due to the concern for the safety of students and the need for each bus to meet schedules at other campuses, students will not be permitted to board the buses after the first bus begins moving away from the campus. Telephones are available in the main office for students who miss the bus. A student will not be allowed to get off the bus after boarding until their scheduled stop has been reached.
WHY ARE SCHOOL BUSES NOT REQUIRED TO BE EQUIPPED WITH SEATBELTS?
Texas now requires seatbelts on all buses that are the model year 2018 or newer. Model year buses before 2018 that are not equipped with seatbelts are allowed to stay in service.
WHY IS MY CHILD’S BUS OVERCROWDED?
School bus sizes are stated in terms of passenger capacity. It is customary for elementary-aged children to ride three (3) per seat. Every attempt will be made to limit middle school and high school students to ride two (2) per seat. Even if the bus has three (3) elementary students or two (2) middle or high school students in each seat, it will 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.