This video is shown primarily to fifth graders at the end of their school year. It helps prepare them for middle school and their transition from the big yellow school bus to the MTD city bus. It is so fun to watch!

How can my student pay for the bus?

We’ve got you covered. Certain students, whose eligibility is determined by their school, can ride MTD to and from school using their student ID as fare. If your student lives more than a mile and a half from their school, their school ID will include a sticker or other markings identifying them as eligible to ride.

When they board the bus, they’ll simply show the Operator their school ID and be good to go. If you have any questions about your student’s eligibility to ride, ask your school’s main office.
If your student lives closer than a mile and a half from school, MTD can still help! Students can purchase a roll of six school tokens for $3.00 from any Operator, or at Illinois Terminal, and ride with a reduced fare. Students riding with school tokens may be asked to show their student ID to prove eligibility. Frequent riders can also explore MTD’s Monthly and Annual passes here.

What are the rules for using a student ID as a valid fare?

It’s easy. MTD’s priority is to get your student to school as safely and stress-free as possible. If your school district has determined your student is eligible, the markings or sticker on their school ID allows them to ride on any bus going to their school without paying a fare on any day that school is in session, until 10:30 AM.

Your student’s ID is also valid to ride home after school on school days. Eligible students can board using their student ID until 7:00 PM, as long as they are boarding at their school. Call 217.384.8188 with any questions about stops, timing, or anything else related to accessing MTD routes with your student's ID.

If a student requires more than one bus to get home, they need to ask for a transfer slip upon boarding at the school. Your student’s ID will not be valid at the location of their second boarding without a transfer slip.

What do I do if my student needs more than one bus to get to or from school?

No problem. Your student just needs to ask their first bus Operator for a transfer slip when they board. Then, your student gives the transfer slip to their second bus Operator to complete their trip.

What does my student need to know about boarding the bus?

It’s simple. While the bus will be following the same schedule each day, sometimes traffic or red lights can cause it to run a few minutes late, or the driver can get lucky, make a lot of green lights, and run a few minutes earlier than usual. MTD recommends that your student arrive at their stop five minutes before their scheduled departure time. As they see a bus approach, advise your student to pay attention to the sign above the Operator at the front of the bus, to make sure it’s the bus they want to board.

When they see their bus, students should wave to the Operator to signal that they want to board. After waving to the driver, make sure that all belongings are ready to go, and they have their school ID or fare ready to show the Operator.

Whenever a passenger is running late and has to run for the bus, or has to fish their ID out of their backpack, the bus can run late, which is inconvenient for everyone, so MTD asks that students follow these steps to make sure that everything goes as smoothly and safely as possible. We’re all in this together!

What about standing on the bus?

Just hang on! If there are no open seats on the bus, your student might have to stand for a while. For the sake of safety, they should be sure to hold on firmly to the standing bars or grab a hanging strap. Jumping, hanging, or swinging from the bars or straps is not allowed. Passengers standing near the front of the bus or who have a question for the Operator should be sure to stand behind the white line at the front of the bus.

How does my student signal that the bus has reached their stop?

Ring the bell! To signal to the Operator that the bus is approaching their stop, your student should use one of the stop request cords on the bus. These are the yellow cords running above the windows on both sides of the bus. There are also red stop request buttons on the vertical standing poles. Pulling the cord or pressing the button will cause a ringing sound, letting the Operator know that someone wants to get off the bus.

Buses are large vehicles and need some time to safely come to a stop, so passengers should be sure to pull the stop cord one block before their stop. For any concerns or questions about the stop or when to signal, the Operator is happy to help.

What happens if my student loses an item on the bus?

We can help. Call MTD at 217.384.8188 as soon as you notice the item is missing. If the item was lost in the same service day, we’ll file a Lost Item Report and contact the bus Operator. For complete information, see our Lost and Found section.

How can I find out more about my student’s specific school trip?

We’ve got the details. Go to our Maps & Schedules menu and select Schools, then select your student’s school.

Enter your student’s home address on your school’s page to get customized trips planned just for your student: what bus stop is closest to your house, what buses will get you to school, home from school, to school on early release days, and home from school on early release days. The neighborhood maps on each school’s page have even more information on our designated school trips, along with their schedules and routing.

What happens if there is a fight on the bus?

We communicate. The safety of students on board the bus is MTD’s number one priority and our Operators are trained to deal with instances of troublesome behavior. Your student should move away from any disruption. The Operator will stop the vehicle at the first safe location and open the doors. This allows students to exit the bus and wait outside until the situation has been resolved.

MTD has developed quality relationships with both Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana School District 116 administrators and teachers. Student discipline is the school’s responsibility, and we rely on them to help maintain order as we transport students to and from school.

As with all disciplinary issues on MTD vehicles, MTD will communicate with school officials, send them video footage of the incident, and allow them to handle the situation in accordance with school policies.

Do the buses going to the schools only allow students to board?

We transport the public. As a public transportation provider and a recipient of public funds, every trip MTD puts on the street must be open to the public, student or senior alike.

Having school transportation provided at a savings by MTD affords the community the opportunity to train a whole new generation to use and be comfortable with public transportation. We view this as an important life skill that a lot of kids in communities our size won’t learn, unless they go to school in Champaign-Urbana, or another, larger city.

Riding MTD gives kids the chance to learn how better to interact with adults and conduct themselves in public settings, which makes for a better community overall.

What other information does my student need to know?

Just ask! If your student is confused or unsure of their trip or any other part of their experience, they can ask any MTD Operator for help. Having questions about a trip or a bus route is completely normal, and our Operators are there to help make sure your student gets to school. Your student can also call 217.384.8188 with any questions. There is no question or concern too big or too small.