School Bus Operations Regulation

Printer Friendly Number 2008-41


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On May 19, 2008, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a Notice of Proposed Policy Statement on FTA’s School Bus Operations Regulations (73 Federal Register 28,790) to provide guidance in the context of the recent decision of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York in Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority v. Hynes-Cherin (531 F.Supp.2d 494, 507 (W.D.N.Y. 2008)).

In the final policy set forth below, FTA clarifies its guidance regarding FTA’s interpretation of its school bus operations regulations. FTA shall construe the term “tripper service,” as it has historically, to include modifications to fare collection or subsidy systems, modifications to the frequency of service, and de minimus route alterations from route paths in the immediate vicinity of schools to stops located at or in close proximity to the schools. Consistent with that construction, FTA shall interpret the definition of “school bus operations” to include service that a reasonable person would conclude was primarily designed to accommodate students and school personnel and only incidentally to serve the nonstudent general public.

FTA stresses that its intent with this final policy is not to overhaul its school bus operations regulatory scheme. Rather, in the context of Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, FTA intends to provide its grantees a basis which will allow them to continue to provide the service that FTA historically has allowed through administrative adjudications, while simultaneously satisfying the statutory requirements. FTA acknowledges that the 2008 – 2009 academic year has commenced. However, because FTA is not overhauling its regulatory scheme and is continuing to allow the type of tripper service that it historically has allowed, this final policy will not negatively impact transportation for the 2008 – 2009 academic year if grantees have been complying with FTA’s historical interpretation of its school bus operations regulations. FTA expects to issue expeditiously a notice of proposed rulemaking to provide clearer definitions of “tripper service” and “school bus operations,” as well as generally to update the existing school bus regulation.

This Federal Register notice may be found on FTA’s website at:

For further information, contact Region 10’s Ted Uyeno at (206) 220-7958 or email

R.F. Krochalis
Regional Administrator