Transportation to DoD schools in Europe is a lot like that in the United States, but with key operations and safety differences.
DoDEA Europe does not own buses or employ drivers, but mainly contracts with host-nation commercial companies for transportation services. In a few communities, the military provides school bus service.
Buses are not the yellow vehicles familiar to American children, but European-style tour or transit coaches marked with the international school bus sign, front and back.
Drivers are not required to speak English, only the host-nation language. Buses are equipped with two-way communications, either radio or cellular telephone, linking drivers to the contractor's central control station.
Drivers are not responsible for enforcing good order and discipline on the bus. Their job is to operate the bus safely. Drivers will report infractions of the bus rules. Parents are responsible for their children's behavior on the bus.
Because even one child's misbehavior can interfere with safe operation of the bus and endanger everyone on board, disciplinary action on reported infractions may be taken, to include temporary suspension or permanent revocation from riding the bus. School transportation is a privilege, not a right or entitlement, and safety is paramount.
Local school bus operations are the responsibility of each DoDEA Europe district. Each district has a District Transportation Supervisor who oversees the School Bus Office or "SBO" servicing each community. For operational questions, please contact your servicing SBO first. Phone numbers and email links are found under "Local School Transporters".
The location of the family quarters, not the sponsor's place of duty or work, determines which school children attend and their eligibility for transportation.
Distance from the residence to the assigned school determines whether children walk to school or ride the bus. The standard for transportation of elementary students is more than one mile and for secondary students is over 1.5 miles. Slightly over one half of the 36,000 children attending DoD schools in Europe ride a school bus, with the other half walking or using other transportation.
The family residence also must be located within the school commuting area. Community Housing Referral Offices have information about each school commuting area and its boundaries.
Students enrolled in pre-Kindergarten and Sure Start programs and children with disabilities under an Individual Education Program (IEP) may receive specialized transportation services tailored to each child's special needs, based on age and/or IEP requirements.
The first step is to register children in the school.
Next is to visit the School Bus Office servicing the community schools. Both a parent and all students needing transportation should be present to register for transportation, receive a bus pass (usually with the student's picture), and to receive information or briefings on the route(s) stops and schedule, bus safety, and behavior standards and discipline rules.