The information below is strictly for reference purposes. Please note that additional information and/or clarification on any of the sections listed here must be obtained by contacting the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) directly.
Transportation is provided for students who reside (or caregiver resides) within the following distances from their school.If the residential or caregiver address is less than the designated distances detailed below, then the student falls within the walk-zone to their school, and transportation will not be provided. Transportation is not provided for students attending schools outside of their regular attendance boundary.
- Junior & Senior Kindergarten - 0.8 km or more from their home school
- Grades 1 through 8 - 1.6 km or more from their home school
- Grades 9 through 12 - 3.2 km or more from their home school
Would you like to know where your child will be picked up and dropped off by the school bus and the company responsible for his or her busing? OSTA's online Stop Locator/Finder function will provide the answers. Simply fill in the required information and click the Find Stop Information button. Visit OSTA's website to access the Stop Finer >>
Empty Seat (Seat Availability) Provision
Where school bus routes have been established and there are empty seats on a bus, students may be provided transportation even though their distance from the school is within walking distance. School principals authorize and assign empty seat requests for their students, after recieving a completed Empty Seat Application form. When assigning students to empty seats, school principals can make decisions based on their own knowledge of the family situation as well as consideration of the following criteria:
Parents/guardians must first complete and sign the the Application Form. Each application should be submitted to the child's school to be dated and kept on file until they can be reviewed. Parents will receive notification from their child's school after October 1 regarding the approval or denial. Empty seats will not be assigned until after October 1 of the school year to allow sufficient time to determine the load counts on school buses and the actual number of empty seats that may be available. Students approved under this provision will ride the school bus on a courtesy and space available basis for the current school year only. Students assigned under the empty seat provision must use the existing bus stop locations that are already in place for the regular eligible riders. No special routing or additional stops will be created for empty seat riders. The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) reserves the right to withdraw such approval at anytime based on changing load count information (for eligible students) and route efficiency requirements.
Download and complete OSTA's Application for Access to Empty Seats on School Bus Vehicles >>
Students who have been identified as requiring English Second Language assistance and do not meet regular entitlement requirements may apply for transportation service. Grade 7 and 8 students approved for such service will normally receive taxi or small vehicle transportation, and students in Grades 9 through 12 would receive approval for public transit (OC Transpo) transportation services. Should the student reside in an area not serviced by the public transit authority, small vehicle transportation may be provided. All requests for ESL transportation require the proper documentation, including any subsequent changes in transportation arrangements. A "Request for Special Transportation" form must be completed by a school official. All changes to ESL transportation require three full days notice.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board has approved and implemented a French as a Second Language Program in September 2005. A student's eligibility to be transported to a given FSL school site is based on a combination of the student's grade, their home address and the program in which they are registered. If the student's home or caregiver address is within one of the 35 FSL school sites, then regular school bus transportation is provided. Any student who registers in an FSL program for a centre outside of their regular home school catchment will be identified as cross-boundary FSL students. Transportation will be provided to these students.
Students with physical or mental disabilities may be eligible for transportation as approved by the Board's Student Services Department. Proper documentation is necessary to initiate special transportation, including any subsequent address or time changes. A "Request for Special Transportation" form must be completed by a school official and forwarded to Student Services for consideration and approval. Once approved, the form is received by the Transportation Department where transportation will be arranged, and the designated taxi / van operator will contact parents directly with the arrangements and effective date. All changes to special transportation require three full days notice.