School Transportation

To carry out school transportation by bus, minibus, car or taxi, all drivers, owners and operators must comply with several requirements.

Types of vehicles that may be used for school transportation

Under the Regulation respecting road vehicles used for the transportation of school children, the following vehicles may be used for school transportation:

  • a sedanAutomobile used for the transportation of school children where the manufacturer has fitted it with at least 4 and not more than 9 seat belts, a hard roof and at least 3 side doors with windows, and where it is used under a contract concluded with a school board or a private educational institution for the exclusive purpose of transporting school children. or family car or a minivan with a seating capacity of 4 to no more than 9 occupants, other than a taxi
  • a bus or a minibus, that is considered a heavy vehicleA road vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,500 kg or more, or a combination of road vehicles having a gross combination weight rating of 4,500 kg or more. The following vehicles are also considered to be heavy vehicles regardless of their GVWR: buses, minibuses, tow trucks, vehicles transporting dangerous substances requiring the display of safety marks.
  • a taxi (automobile, limousine or minivan)
Warning

School transportation using a 15-passenger van is prohibited

In Québec, the transportation of school children between school and home or for extracurricular activities using a 15-passenger van is strictly prohibited.

For more details, consult the website of the ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l'Électrification des transports.

Characteristics of vehicles used for school transportation

Buses and minibuses

To ensure that school buses and minibuses can be seen when school children get on or off on the side of the road, buses and minibuses used in Québec must be equipped with the following safety features:

  • a body painted yellow
  • the word “ÉCOLIERS” indicated in the front and rear
  • an extendable stop sign on the left side of the vehicle
  • flashing red lights in the front and rear
  • alternately flashing yellow lights in the front and rear

School buses and minibuses must also meet the standards regarding use, construction and furnishings set forth in the:

  • Regulation respecting road vehicles used for the transportation of school children (Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l'Électrification des transports)
  • Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (Transport Canada)
  • Standard D250 (Canadian Standards Association – CSA)
Warning

After 12 years of use…

A bus or minibus may no longer be used for school transportation, as specified in the Regulation respecting student transportation.

  • Under certain conditions set forth in the Regulation respecting road vehicles used for the transportation of school children, buses and minibuses other than school buses or minibuses may be used to transport school children. For more details, consult the MTMDET website.

Transportation of disabled school children

Buses and minibuses used for the transportation of disabled school children must also meet the construction and furnishing specifications prescribed in the Regulation respecting road vehicles adapted for the transportation of handicapped persons.

For more details, consult the MTMDET website.

Taxis, limousines and automobiles

Taxis, limousines and automobiles used for the transportation of school children must be equipped with:

  • at least 4 and not more than 9 seat belts
  • a hard roof
  • at least 3 side doors with windows

On the roof of the vehicle

From side to side across the middle of the roof:

  • a yellow sign bearing the word “ÉCOLIERS”
  • OR

  • a dome light on which the word “ÉCOLIERS” is displayed

For more details, consult the Regulation respecting road vehicles used for the transportation of school children.

Useful information

Taxis used for school transportation

When a taxi is used for school transportation, its owner must replace the taxi dome light with an “ÉCOLIERS” dome light, or with a yellow sign bearing the word “ÉCOLIERS”.

Mechanical maintenance of vehicles used for school transportation

A periodic mechanical inspection must be carried out by an SAAQ-authorized road vehicle inspection agent every 6 months, regardless of the type of vehicle used.

If the vehicle is deemed compliant, an inspection certificate is issued and an inspection sticker is affixed to the vehicle.

If minor defects are detected

Repairs must be made within 48 hours.

If major defects are detected

The vehicle is prohibited from road use until the repairs have been made to the satisfaction of our road vehicle inspection agents.

Preventative Maintenance Program (PMP)

Vehicle owners may implement a Preventative Maintenance Program and have it recognized by the SAAQ to be released from the requirement of submitting their vehicles to this inspection. The choice is theirs to make.

Other mechanical maintenance requirements may apply

Refer to the detailed information based on the type of vehicle used:

Useful information

Buses and minibuses are considered heavy vehicles

As a result, owners, operators and drivers must meet several obligations.

School transportation safety

Carrier enforcement officers and police officers are mandated to ensure school transportation safety. Among other things, they monitor vehicle compliance and use.

Driver obligations

Driver's licence

Drivers must hold the appropriate class of licence for the vehicle they use to carry out school transportation and be in good health.

The required class of licence is based on the type of vehicle

  • Class 5: passenger vehicles other than taxis
  • Class 2: buses designed to carry more than 24 passengers
  • Class 4B: buses and minibuses designed to carry 24 or fewer passengers
  • Class 4C: taxis and limousines
Warning

Zero alcohol

The zero alcohol rule applies to anyone who drives or has the care or control of a bus, a minibus or a taxi.

Certificate of competence

Drivers who carry out school transportation must also hold a certificate of competence issued by the MTMDET.

There are 2 types of certificates of competence:

  • Certificate of competence to drive a bus or minibus used for the transportation of school children
  • Certificate of competence to drive a vehicle used for the transportation of school children

To follow the training program to be issued the certificates of competence

Transportation of preschoolers

If you organize outings for a group of preschool-age children, follow these two main principles to travel safely:

  1. Use as few vehicles as possible, to reduce the risk of a collision.
  2. Use a heavier vehicle, such as a minivan or a school bus or minibus, for better passenger protection in the event of an accident.
Useful information

Child safety seats on board buses

Some later models of school buses feature integrated child safety seats or a universal anchorage system to affix a child safety seat or an infant seat.

Even for younger children, school buses provide at least 10 times better protection than a passenger vehicle equipped with child safety seats.

In a car or minivan, all children whose sitting height is less than 63 cm (between the seat and the top of the head) must be secured in an appropriate car seat, adapted to their weight and height.

For more details, consult:

Seat belts in school buses and minibuses

School buses are safe, even without seat belts, because they feature a passive safety system known as “compartmentalization.”

This system uses the benches and the interior of the bus to create a protective compartment in the event of a collision.

For more details, go to the Transport Canada website.