FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The following information does not apply to the students who are travelling on the buses of other service providers.

Please refer to question 1 for further information.

GENERAL INFORMATION

1. How do I know if my child is travelling on an Otobus bus, or on the bus of another service provider?

At Otobus, we service 91% of the buses servicing Minaret College, and handle the registrations and organise the routing of 100% of buses.

We currently service buses S1-S18 at the Springvale Campus, and buses O1-O14 at the Officer Campus. If your child’s bus number is different to ours, or if there is a letter other than ‘S’ or ‘O’ in front of your child’s bus number, they are not using our service, and majority of the following information does not apply to you.

The only procedure you must follow, is to re-register or cancel your child(s) registration at the end of term 4. Please refer to questions 12 & 13 below for further information.

2. How does the Otobus school-bus service work?

  • We are fully accredited in NSW and VIC and provide a door-to-door school-bus service for students. However, if your home is located on a main road, if your bus driver is unable to stop in front of your house or if your bus driver is unable to do a U-turn to get to your house, you may be asked to take your child to a safe pick-up/drop-off spot.
    Subject to service provided and agreed upon, based on the outcome of your registration request.

  • Our buses are only able to wait for a maximum of 2 minutes at each house in the mornings.

  • As of Term 4 2019 (08/10/2019) our drivers will no longer be contacting parents under any circumstances, and parents are not to contact our drivers.

  • We only provide a home-to-school and school-to-home service. We do not offer transportation from other addresses, such as childcare centres, tafe’s, universities, shops, etc.

3. What are the bus fees and how do I make payment?

Otobus does not collect bus fees from parents, and all questions relating to bus fees and payments must be directed to Minaret College.

4. Are your buses fitted with seatbelts?

Not all buses are manufactured with seatbelts, so some of our buses have seatbelts, while others don’t.

In Australia, school buses are not required to be fitted with seatbelts.

5. Can I have access to Otobus GPS tracking software to monitor the whereabouts of my child(s) bus?

For quality, safety and security purposes, our GPS tracking system is for internal use only.


REGISTRATIONS

6. How do I register my child(s) for the door-to-door bus service for Minaret College?

By visiting www.otobus.com.au/minaretcollege. You must enter this url into your browser as you will not find the registration form on our website. Our registration form is an online-only form, and we do not process registrations over the phone.

7. Am I guaranteed the bus service once I have sent my registration form?

No. Although we provide transportation to a number of suburbs, unfortunately we can not service all suburbs and therefore, will not be able to service students who live outside of the suburbs we service.

8. What happens once I’ve submitted my registration form?

You will receive an automated email response from us which will advise you that we will be in contact with you within 24-48 business hours. During this time, we will study your address and try to arrange a spot for your child(s) on one of our buses. We will then contact you via email to advise of an update which will be one of the following:

a) We have successfully arranged transportation for your child(s) and we will advise you on your start date,

b) We have placed your child(s) on our waiting list as the bus he/she is to be on is full,

c) We do not have any buses travelling to your address, and will not be able to service your child(s).

Please Note: Majority of our buses are currently at maximum capacity.

9. My child(s) has been placed on the waiting list. What happens now?

We will wait for a student/family to cancel their registration or change their address (which might mean that they will need to be put on a different bus). Once there is space on the bus, we will notify you and ask if you are still interested in our bus-service. If you are, we will advise you of the start date. If you are not, the next student/family on the waiting list will be offered the seat(s).

10. How long does it take for my child(s) to start using the bus service?

We require a minimum of 5 business days to process successful registrations.

We do not start new students on our buses mid-week, and all new students must start using our service on Mondays.

11. I am moving houses. When do I need to notify Otobus?

The earlier you notify us of your address change, the better. Change of address is treated and processed like a new registration. We require a minimum of 5 business days to process all registrations, and this does not guarantee service from your new address.

12. Why do I have to re-new my child(s) registration at the end of each year?

There are a number of reasons why parents must re-register and/or cancel their service for the next year, which are as follows:

  • In order to plan for the next year, we need to know exactly who will continue to use our services,

  • Some families will have a new foundation/prep student to add, and some families will have a year 12 student to remove from the service. We must allocate the correct number of seats per family in order to ensure the correct bus type is allocated to each route,

  • Often, parents do not notify us of changes to their phone numbers and/or email addresses. By renewing your registration at the end of each year, you will be asked to re-enter all of your details, which will ensure we are up to date with all of your information,

  • Cancelling your service ensures that your seat(s) is given to another family who needs the bus service, and so that Minaret College invoices you accordingly and correctly.

13. What happens if I don’t renew my child(s) registration before the cut-off date?

If you do not re-new your child(s) registration, your child will not be on our bus service list for the following year, and your seat(s) will be given to other students. If you wish to re-register your child(s) after the cut-off date, we can not guarantee service and you may be placed on our waiting list.

14. In the registration form, I have put in a primary contact person and a secondary contact person. Will we both be contacted by Otobus?

Only the primary contact person will be contacted by Otobus. The secondary contact person’s details will be stored for administration staff to use in case of emergencies, or if we are unable to get ahold of the primary contact person.

We do not accept landline phone numbers, and all phone numbers must be mobile numbers.

Please Note: The primary contact person must be the parent/guardian who is at home in the morning and afternoon.

15. I want to change my child(s) bus so that they can be on the same bus as my family friend/relative. Why doesn’t Otobus allow this?

All routes are strategically and professionally organised, and we can not process such requests. If it were possible for your child(s) to be on a different bus, they would have been placed on that bus to begin with.

1 6. I am going on holidays and need to use the bus service for a short period of time. Why isn’t this allowed?

We do not offer short-term/casual services as any minor changes to a route will significantly impact the timing and route order of an existing bus. This is unfair to the students who have committed to using our bus-service throughout the year.

17. My child(s) uses your bus service, and we are going away on holidays. I do not want to lose my child(s) seat(s) on the bus as we need to continue using your service when we return. What should I do?

Please phone us on 1300 OTOBUS to advise us of your travel dates so that we are aware of your plans and do not give your seat(s) to other students. We will also let your bus driver know not to travel to your address.

Please also phone Minaret College to enquire about the bus fees during the time you are away.

18. Can I register my child to be picked up from one address and dropped off to another?

No. We only provide transportation to students from one address.

*** THE SECOND LAST WEEK OF EACH TERM IS THE REGISTRATION CUT-OFF FOR THE FOLLOWING TERM***
For example: To process term 4 registrations/changes to addresses/etc, you must notify Otobus by Friday, Week 9, Term 3.
We do not process any registrations/changes to addresses/etc, during the school holidays, as we provide training to drivers and ensure our vehicles are maintained during this period.


PICK-UP / DROP-OFF

19. Who do I notify if my child(s) is not going to school or if I am picking my child(s) up from school in the afternoon?

Our dedicated text messaging line on 0488 826 640. This phone number does not accept phone calls, and we are unable to reply to your messages. In your text message, please include the following information:

  • Campus name (Springvale of Officer)

  • Home address

  • Student(s) full name

  • Date(s) student(s) is not going to school

  • A brief message

Please only send pick-up and drop-off related messages to this number. This number is only monitored at specific hours of the day, and we can not reply to text messages. Please phone us on 1300 OTOBUS for all other matters.

Parents who do not notify Otobus of their child(s) absence will be issued warnings. 3+ warnings may result in suspension from our services.

20. Why do I have to notify Otobus if my child(s) is not going to school or if I am picking my child(s) up from school in the afternoon?

It is extremely important for you to notify us of your child’s absence as we rely on communication from you to organise daily routes.

In the morning, we work on strict timing. Some families also live very far from an existing route, and notifying Otobus of your child’s absence will mean that the driver does not have to travel to and from your address if your child is not going to school.

In the afternoon, we want students to get home as early as possible, and for this to happen, all students must go straight to their buses as soon as the bell rings. Buses are delayed if you have picked your child up from school and have failed to notify us as we are then forced to look for your child(s). It is also unfair on all the other students who are delayed in going home because you have not notified us that you have picked your child(s) up.

Also, bus drivers have a very stressful job. Imagine having 20+ students in a car with you every morning and afternoon, and imagine each of those children had different needs/parents/expectations. It is not easy! The drivers needs to focus on ensuring students are transported to and from school safely, and not on student whereabouts.

21. What is the morning pick-up process like?

We have strict protocol which all parents and students must follow. Please note the following:

  • The bus will arrive at your address and beep the horn once. Some students’ neighbours tend to complain if a bus beeps/makes any noise, which will mean that we will not be able to beep the horn at your address.. If we receive a complaint from your neighbour, we will be in touch with you.

  • A maximum of 2-minute waiting period. When you register your child(s) with Otobus, we will give you a time bracket in which you are to expect the bus (e.g. 7:30am-7:40am). The bus will arrive within this timeframe and your child(s) is to embark on the bus within 2 minutes. If your child(s) is not ready and does not embark on the bus, the bus will leave.
    Please ensure all of your children are on the bus within this period. Do not send one of your children to hold a bus, while your other children are still getting ready. The bus will leave.

  • Once your bus has left your address, it can not return to your address under any circumstances.

  • Our bus will continue to pick up other students, and must arrive at school by 8:15am.

  • Once at the school, our buses park in their allocated bus bays, and keep students on the bus until 8.15am. All students are released from buses altogether.

Remember to notify Otobus via text message on 0488 826 640 as early as possible if your child is not going to school in the morning. Refer to the Contact Otobus section below for details.

22. What is the afternoon drop-off process like?

  • Our buses arrive at school at 3pm and park in their allocated bus bays.

  • Students are released from class, and must go directly to their buses.

  • Our bus drivers perform roll-calls to ensure the correct students are on the bus, and that no students are missing.
    If students are missing and are not at their buses on time, the bus will leave the student behind and parents must organise alternative transportation. Students and parents will be issued with warnings if this happens, and 3+ warnings may result in suspension from our services.

  • Bus drivers will follow their route and drop students off at home. Parents are expected to be at home between 3.30pm to 5.30pm to receive students. If parents are not at home, the parent must pick the student up from the driver’s last drop-off address. Again, parents will be issued a warning if this happens, and 3+ warnings may result in suspension from our services.
    Drop-off timing may vary on a daily basis due to traffic conditions such as accidents, road closures, etc.

23. I am not happy with my child’s pick-up/drop-off timing/I don’t want my child(s) to be picked up first/dropped off last. Why isn’t Otobus making changes to the pick-up/drop-off order?

Unfortunately, someone on the bus needs to get picked up first and someone needs to be dropped off last.

Our routes are organised professionally and in a linear format, which means that the student(s) who lives furthest from the school is picked up first, and on the way to school, other students who fall on that route are picked up in order (those closest to the school will be picked up last and dropped off first).

Our routes can change at any time if we receive new registrations or if students cancel their service. This may affect your timing and change the order of pick-up and drop-off, and you will be notified of these changes via email.

24. I have asked our bus driver to drop my child(s) off at another address, such as my child(s) grandparents’ house, tutoring centre, a sports field, etc. and he/she has refused. Why?

Legally, we are only able to provide transportation to the registered address, and we do not make any casual/one-off arrangements to cater to parents’ requests. We do not offer VIP services and can not cater to each families individual needs. We simply provide door-to-door transportation to and from one address. If you require for your child(s) to be transported to another address, please organise this privately, and advise Otobus via text message if your child will not be on the bus in the afternoon.

25. I live on a busy road and the bus can’t stop in front of my house. What do I do?

We will be in touch with you to arrange a safe pick-up and drop-off spot, which may be a few houses up/down from your house, across the road from you, or elsewhere. This spot must be feasible and agreed upon, both by you and by Otobus. If we are unable to reach an agreement, or can not find a suitable pick-up and drop-off spot, we may not be able to provide our service to you.

If your child is older and you give authority for him/her to attend this spot by herself/himself, we will require a written letter of authority from you.


CONTACTING OTOBUS

26. How will Otobus contact me?

We will send majority of our communication via email to the primary contact person. We will also send text messages in emergencies to advise if the bus is running late due to a breakdown or traffic conditions.

27. I have changed my contact details, such as my phone number or email address. Why is it important for me to let Otobus know of these changes immediately?

It is very important to notify us of such changes, as we must be able to contact you should we need to advise you of any changes to your bus, or in case of emergencies. Please phone us on 1300 OTOBUS to notify us of such changes.

28. I need to contact Otobus on the weekend. What should I do?

Our business hours are 7am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and we are closed on the weekend, on public holidays, and all religious holidays. If you need to contact us, please call us on 1300 OTOBUS and leave us a detailed voicemail message with the following details:

  • Your name

  • Your phone number

  • Which campus your child(s) is enrolled at (Springvale or Officer)

  • Your home address

  • The reason for your call

We will return your call within one business day.

29. I have phoned Otobus during business hours and no one has answered. What should I do next?

Some days, particularly during peak season, our office gets extremely busy and we can not answer all phone calls immediately. We understand that it can be very frustrating if this happens, but please be assured that we will return your call ASAP. Please phone us once and leave us a voicemail message with the following details:

  • Your name

  • Your phone number

  • Which campus your child(s) is enrolled at (Springvale or Officer)

  • Your home address

  • The reason for your call

By doing this, we will be able to look into your request and action it/have an answer for you when we call you back.

We will endeavour to return your call within one business day.

STUDENT ILLNESSES/ALLERGIES

30. My child(s) has a health condition/illness. What happens?

Our drivers are not trained to provide medical treatments to students, and we can only transport students who do not have serious illnesses and do not require medical intervention. If your child has an illness/allergy/medical condition, we will require a written clearance letter from you which must state that your child is able to travel on our buses without requiring special attention/care/medical intervention.


TRAVELLING ON THE BUS

31. Why is there a ‘No Eating’ and ‘No Drinking’ policy on your buses?

As of Term 4, 2019 (08/10/2019), all foods and drinks are completely banned from buses.

At Otobus, we transport over 700 students on a daily basis at Minaret College alone, and many students and drivers have food allergies/anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.

Students have been littering on our buses, causing the spread of germs and bacteria, and have dropped foods such as soups on our bus, causing serious safety concerns for other students, who may easily slip and hit their heads on sharp surfaces. In order to also maintain cleanliness on our buses, all foods and drinks are now banned.

32. Why are there allocated seating arrangements on some of your buses?

Students may be allocated specific seats when we receive reports/complaints of student misbehaviour and/or bullying on our buses. There are approximately 20 students travelling on each bus, and in order to discipline students and to ensure a positive and safe environment is harboured on our buses, temporary or permanent seating arrangements may be implemented.

33. My child was chosen as the Bus Captain. What does this mean?

When our bus drivers are focusing on the road and traffic conditions, it is extremely difficult for them to pay attention to what is happening inside the bus. This is why responsible and mature students are chosen as Bus Captain’s on our buses, and they will act as a liaison between students and bus drivers.

Bus Captain’s will help us and Minaret College in identifying which students are misbehaving, bullying other students, damaging Otobus property, etc.

34. My child(s) is getting bullied on the bus. What do I do?

Otobus has a zero tolerance policy to all forms of bullying on our buses, and we urge parents to report all concerns to either our head office or to Minaret College directly. Otobus does not discipline students, and all matters will be forwarded to Minaret College for their swift actioning.

Your bus driver can not be focusing on the students on the bus as his/her primary responsibility is to get your child(s) to and from school in a safe manner. Bus drivers are also not trained to control, manage or discipline students.

35. My child(s) is bullying other students on the bus/my child(s) is causing trouble on the bus. What will happen?

Please report your concerns to either our head office or to Minaret College directly.

Please also educate your child(s) on the dangers of bullying, and how their words and actions may impact on other students.

36. My child(s) was left behind at school in the afternoon. Why?

Students must go straight to their buses when the afternoon bell rings. If students are not on their buses on time, bus drivers will leave them behind.

Some students who choose to play games or speak to their friends after school will be issued warnings, as they are not allowed to delay bus departure.

37. My child needs to go on a different bus in the afternoon or my child’s friend needs to come to our house in the afternoon. Why has my request been rejected?

We only provide long-term transportation to registered students, and do not allow other students to casually use our service. There are a number of reasons for this, with the main reasons being that majority of our buses are full, and that managing casual arrangements are extremely problematic and cause chaos for all of our drivers.

If you require for your child to go to an address that is different than your own, you must privately arrange for their transportation.

In the past, students have made such arrangements without the consent of their parents, which meant that parents thought their child was missing as they were unaware that their child had made their own arrangements.


PARENTS AND DRIVERS

38. What is expected of my child(s) when they are travelling on Otobus buses?

The following list is what is expected of your child(s) when travelling on our buses:

  • To embark on the bus within 2 minutes in the morning,

  • To remain seated at all times when on the bus, and use their seatbelts when applicable,

  • Not to damage bus property under any circumstances. Parents will be invoiced for the damages their child has caused.

  • Not to bring any foods or drinks (except water) on to the bus,

  • To respect his/her bus driver and supervisor at all times,

  • Not to protrude limbs outside of the bus windows,

  • Not to throw objects outside of the bus from the windows,

  • Not to talk to/scream at passersby,

  • Not to bully or intimidate other students on the bus,

  • Not to swear at other passengers or to his/her bus driver,

  • Speak in English,

  • Listen to and obey driver’s instructions,

  • Listen to and obey Bus Captain’s instructions,

  • Not to litter and to take all rubbish when disembarking from the bus,

  • Not to forget belongings on the bus (drivers can not return to drop-off items or arrange for parents to pick belongings up after hours).

39. Why don’t I have direct access to my child(s) bus driver anymore?

Due to a myriad of reasons, as of Term 4, 2019 (08/10/2019) parents will no longer be able to contact their bus drivers, and drivers will no longer be contacting parents.

Parents must now contact our messaging service if their child is not going to school or if they have picked their child up in the afternoon, and must phone us on 1300 OTOBUS for all other enquiries. Refer to the Contact Otobus section above for details.

40. Am I allowed to speak to my child(s) bus driver?

Of course, you may greet your bus driver and engage in general small talk with him/her. However, please do not ask for his/her phone number, or make any complaints and/or suggestions to your driver, as they will not be able to take direction from parents.

All parent feedback, requests and/or complaints must be directed to our head office by phoning 1300 OTOBUS, or to Minaret College on (03) 9574 0567 / (03) 5943 2058.

41. What is the bus driver’s duty of care?

Your bus driver’s primary responsibility is to ensure that all students in their care are transported to and from school in a safe manner. Their responsibilities include:

  • Picking-up and dropping-off students on the correct side of the street which their house is located on (where possible),

  • Following all traffic and road rules,

  • Managing external threats (from the general public) in a safe and professional manner,

  • Ensuring students are seated at all times,

  • Reporting all incidents to management in a timely manner.

Drivers are not trained to manage student behaviour and/or discipline misbehaving students on buses.

42. What is expected of me as a parent?

Parents play a significant role in ensuring students are aware of their responsibilities on our buses. Further to this, we require the following from parents:

  • To educate your child(s) on the importance of remaining seated on buses, and using their seatbelts where provided,

  • To explain to your child(s) the dangers associated with sticking limbs outside of bus windows, and why they must keep all body parts inside the bus at all times,

  • Ensure your child(s) is ready on time for morning pick-up and does not delay the bus,

  • Understand that the bus can only wait for a maximum of 2 minutes in the morning and must leave if your child(s) is not ready on time, and can not return to your address under any circumstances,

  • You are not permitted to enter the bus under any circumstances,

  • You must not threaten or intimidate bus drivers. Disrespect and harassment towards bus drivers and other Otobus staff will not be tolerated,

  • Do not request any favours, such as dropping students off elsewhere or putting friends’/relatives’ children on the bus,

  • You must ensure that you are at home at all times in the afternoon between 3:30pm to 5:30pm (accidents and traffic conditions can change/influence drop-off timing),

  • You must report to Otobus if your child is not going to school or if you are picking your child up in the afternoon. Parents who do not report such absences will receive warnings. 3+ warnings may result in suspension/termination from our services.