Red Deer Public Schools establishes designated schools for each area of the city. Eligibility for transportation service is determined by the distance from a student's primary place of residence to their designated school. Students can only have 1 primary residence for eligibility purposes. Guidelines for determining these distances are established by Alberta Education. RDPSD uses a program called Busplanner to calculate routes and distances. Although there are other ways to calculate distances online, RDPSD will always refer to our software if there are any discrepancies. Eligibility is calculated using the walking distance from the sidewalk in front of the residence to the sidewalk in front of the school entrance using sidewalks, pathways, and alleyways (maintained or not).
*New Eligibility-2023/24 Transition Year*
In March 2023, Alberta Education announced that eligibility guidelines for transportation will be changing. Currently K-12 students are eligible for transportation when they reside 2.4 kms or greater from the school in their designated catchment area.
These distances have been amended to greater than 1 km for grades K-6 and greater than 2 kms for Grades 7 to 12. School divisions have been instructed to officially introduce the new legislation starting in the 2024/25 school year. The new eligibility, while better for families, will definitely be a challenge with many school divisions reporting canceled routes the last couple of years. This is mainly due to bus driver shortages but also long waits for new bus manufacturing.
The Government gave school districts the autonomy to start the new eligibility in 2023/24 if they have the resources. We have met with our contractors to establish what, if any, service expansion they would be able to provide for this upcoming 2023/24 school year. They have indicated to us that they will be able to adjust somewhat to our increased needs for next year and fully for 2024/25. Some school districts have opted to wait until 2024 to implement the new eligibility requirements, while Red Deer Public has chosen to transition into the new legislation. This means that some schools will have the expanded transportation resources to use the new criteria next year and some will still use the current bus service they have now. The schools selected to make the switch next year have the greatest student number impact using the extra busing our contractors felt they could confidently supply. The rest of the schools will follow the new eligibility legislation starting September 2024.
New Fee Schedule for 2023/24-
Grades K-6: Greater than 1 km to designated school- No fee Less than 1 km- $300
Grades 7-8: Greater than 2 kms to designated school- No fee Less than 2 km (WPM only)- $300 fee
Grades 7-12: Greater than 2 kms to designted school-No fee LTCHS / Central / EMS
Grades K-12: School of choice-$300
Below are the schools that will be using the new eligibility criteria starting 2023/24:
Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School
Central Middle School
Eastview Middle School
Annie L Gaetz Elementary
Don Campbell Elementary
GW Smith Elementary
Joseph Welsh Elementary
Oriole Park Elementary
West Park Elementary
- Grades 7 -12= 2.4 kms or greater from designated school. (HHHS and WPM)
- Grades K -12 school of choice= Address is 2.4 kms or greater from both school of choice and designated school.
- Grades K-12 out of city= Address is greater than 2.4 kms from designated school and utilizing a stop that is greater than 2.4 kms to attending school- Please note that this only applies to schools that have yellow bus service and does not include City Transit (distances will need to be confirmed by RDPSD transportation department).
- NEW Starting 2023/24- Grades K-6= 1 km or greater from designated School (Select Schools)
Students who are ineligible for transportation because they reside less than the eligibile distance to school, may be able to access charter bus services for an additional fee as the district does not receive transportation funding for ineligible students. NOTE: Transportation may be provided if there is room available on the bus and the student resides along the existing bus route (new stops will not be created for ineligible students).
Availability is not guaranteed and is subject to change throughout the school year as (eligible) student numbers and routes change. All ineligible transportation costs must be paid at the time of application. Ineligible riders may have their seat rescinded if it's needed for an eligible student in which case all ineligible rider fees from would be returned based on the date that transportation was terminated.
*Please call the school for information pertaining to eligibility when attending an alternative program (i.e. Gateway Christian School, Escuela Vista Grande). If your question remains unanswered, call the District Transportation office at 403-342-3724.
Examples starting 2023/24
- As a regular elementary student and you live under the walking distance of 1 km to your designated elementary school and there is a bus available for your address, you are subject to a transportation fee of $300.00/year/ student for busing.
- As a regular elementary student and you live 2 kms from your designated school, there is no fee for busing.
- As a regular Westpark Middle School student and you live under the walking distance of 2 km to (your designated school of) Westpark Middle School and there is a bus available for your address, you are subject to a transportation fee of $300.00/year for busing. If you live further than 2 km away from Westpark Middle School, you are not subject to this fee.
- As a regular Central Middle School student, you live 2.7 kms from Central and 2.9 kms from Eastview (designated school), you would be considered eligible for a free city transit pass.