Policy

HKIS Mandatory Bus Policy

The Mandatory Bus Policy for Lower and Upper Primary School students has been in effect since the beginning of the 2013-14 school year. As part of HKIS's commitment to be a good neighbor and to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability, we have developed this Policy in consultation with the Hong Kong Transport Department, Southern District Councillor Fergus Fung, and the Hong Kong Police. In doing so, we have developed a plan that allows for over 1,250 students to reach and depart school on time, while also reducing traffic congestion and pollution. This plan has been endorsed by the Transport Department.

We have made every effort to be as comprehensive as possible in the following FAQs.

If you have additional questions, please send communications to newlowerprimary@hkis.edu.hk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does HKIS have a Mandatory Bus Policy?

In December 2011, then Head of School Kevin Dunning announced that HKIS’s Repulse Bay campus, comprised of its Lower Primary and Upper Primary Schools, will transition to mandatory busing. HKIS made this commitment for three main reasons: as part of its Lower Primary Redevelopment initiative; as part of its ongoing efforts to be a good neighbor; and to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability.

In the intervening period, HKIS has worked with Southern District Councillor Fergus Fung, the Hong Kong Transport Department, and the Hong Kong Police to develop a plan that will allow for over 1,250 students to reach and depart school on time, while reducing traffic congestion and pollution. The plan has been endorsed by the Transport Department.

The plan was presented to HKIS’s Repulse Bay neighbors in the immediate vicinity during an open town hall meeting on December 18, 2012, organized by Southern District Councillor Fergus Fung. HKIS outlined how Mandatory Bus Policy will be accomplished while both Lower Primary and Upper Primary schools are operating in Repulse Bay, as well as how it will be achieved during the period of Lower Primary school construction. The plan was met with approval by the attendees.

Upper Primary Students in Tai Tam

In the fall of 2017, Upper Primary will temporarily relocate to Tai Tam for one year and as part of the plan, Upper Primary students moving to the Tai Tam campus will be required to take the bus to and from school in order to manage the already congested traffic situation on the Tai Tam campus. All lower and Upper Primary students on Repulse Bay and Tai Tam campuses will be required to ride this bus to and from school.

Are all students required to take the bus?

All students in Lower and Upper Primary will be required to take the bus to school and home* This does not apply to the 4 p.m. (LP) or 4:15 p.m. (UP-TT) after-school activities bus. Students may be picked up by private car following after school activities or they may choose to take the late bus home.

Students who live within a predetermined walking radius of the Repulse Bay or Tai Tam campus will be able to walk home. The school has rules for walking and the area which constitutes the walking zone for families -- see Walkers FAQs.

*At UP-TT, there is one exception that allows families with MS or HS students already been driven to school that their UP child may be driven to school in the morning only. All students are asked to be dropped off at the UP-MS entrance.

*LP, there is one exception to the mandatory busing rule which only applies to R1 Half-Day students. As there are only 14 R1 half-day students during each session, there will be a limited number of bus routes that can be provided in the middle of the day when students are not sharing buses with other Lower Primary students. Therefore,

  • R1 AM Half Day students will be required to ride the bus to school but will be given the option to be picked up by private vehicle or take the bus home at the end of their session.
  • R1 PM Half Day students will be required to ride the bus home from school but will be given the option of being brought to school by private vehicle or by the school bus.

What happens if my child is ill or has a special appointment and I need to pick them up during the school day?

Our school nurse calls parents when a child needs to go home. In these circumstances and when students have special appointments, private vehicles will be permitted to pick up that child. We request that for special appointments, students should be picked up at least 30 minutes prior to dismissal times to avoid bus traffic.

How will mandatory busing be enforced?

HKIS will require parents to accept the mandatory busing requirement. Parents will agree to the terms when they update their family information at the beginning of the school year on the PowerSchool portal. By signing off on PowerSchool, the school will hold all family members accountable to HKIS policies regarding busing and private vehicle access to the campuses. If parents do not abide by mandatory busing rules, their child's enrollment will be jeopardized at HKIS.

What if I need to go to school between drop-off and pick-up times?

We encourage the HKIS community to use public transport wherever possible; however, it is possible to arrive by taxi or private vehicle between drop-off and pick-up times. Please note there is limited parking in Lower Primary.

Is HKIS the only international school with a mandatory bus policy?

While the traffic situation for each international school is unique, they are generally distinguished by the negative impact on their surrounding neighborhoods. HKIS is not alone in requiring mandatory busing: the Pokfulam campus of German Swiss International School also requires mandatory busing. Other international schools, such as the French International School in Chai Wan, strongly endorse a busing only policy for its students. HKIS is opting to take a proactive stance to improve not only the safety of our students, parents, neighbors and faculty, but also to promote the low carbon lifestyle that we strive to teach our students.

I have children in different HKIS schools on different campuses. Will the mandatory bus policy be applied to all? Will they need to take different buses?

Outside of the designated walking radius of the school, busing is mandatory for Lower and Upper Primary students on the Repulse Bay and Tai Tam campuses. The school bus option is recommended, but not mandatory, for the Middle School and High School students on the Tai Tam campus.

The one exception for UP-TT students allows families with MS or HS students already being driven to school to drop off their UP child in the morning only; all students departing UP-TT at 3:10 p.m. dismissal must take the bus.

All students being dropped off by private vehicles are asked to be dropped off at the UP/MS entrance.

In what special situations might HKIS make an exception for my child’s need for direct private car access?

We recognize and understand that at times, students may have appointments that can only be arranged during school time. Therefore, with prior permission from a school administrator, a child may be picked up early or brought in late, for special circumstances e.g. doctor’s appointments, dental appointments, Occupational Therapist appointments. Arranging for students to be picked up by car to participate in a non-HKIS after-school activity will not be considered.

What triggered the change to a mandatory bus policy for all students currently in Repulse Bay?

The heavy traffic at both our Repulse Bay and Tai Tam campuses had been an ongoing issue for many years. The situation presents environmental and safety concerns as well as difficulty for our neighbors. The volume of traffic during daily dismissal brings traffic on South Bay Close to a near standstill for upwards of an hour, making access to the school and residents’ homes extremely difficult. More than 20 HKIS faculty and staff were required to manage the arrival and dismissal to ensure safety for the students. This resulted in 30-45 minutes daily of faculty time that could otherwise be devoted to academic-related activities – that equates to almost 15 hours per day. Going to mandatory busing was under consideration for a number of years to address these issues. Over the years, one thing became increasingly clear: the school's leadership, our neighbors, the police and the Hong Kong transportation departments all wanted a solution. We believe that mandatory busing is the best option for our Repulse Bay campus to ensure safety and efficiency for getting our students to and from school.

In the fall of 2017, the Upper Primary will temporarily relocate to Tai Tam. As part of the plan, Upper Primary students moving to the Tai Tam campus will continue to be required to take the bus to and from school. This is necessary to help manage the already congested traffic situation existing on the Tai Tam campus. Since the 2014-15 school year, all Lower and Upper Primary students on both Repulse Bay and Tai Tam campuses have been required to ride the bus to and from school.

Bus Routes and Schedules

Will bus rides be any longer than they currently are because of increased distances to routes or the addition of passengers?

The goal is to always minimize the duration of bus rides for all students. However, given the complex nature of busing students from all parts of the city, there is only so much that can be done to accommodate requests for preferential routings and schedules. Further, given the changes to this year's (and next year's) routings to Repulse Bay and Tai Tam, there will be differences in distances and timing as compared to past years. Buses will be added and routing and schedules will be drafted and shared in early June and confirmed in August.

Bus Fees

How much are bus fees?

2017-2018 round-trip bus fares for most routes range from approximately HK$10,000 to HK$20,000 per year, depending on your place of residence. Information on bus fees is provided on the Kwoon Chung Motors application.

Will the bus fees be built into the overall tuition costs?

HKIS must charge bus fees separately from tuition as fees vary from location to location and because fees are billed through our bus provider, Kwoon Chung Motors.

Could HKIS buy buses and use Kwoon Chung Motors drivers?

HKIS has been working with Kwoon Chung Motors for over 40 years – they are the experts in transportation within Hong Kong and we feel it is right to defer to their expert knowledge and skills. HKIS will keep its firm focus on providing a superlative education.

Logistics

Can my child change buses (e.g. for playdates, etc.)?

Students in Grades 1 to 5 may change buses by providing written notice two school days before the day of the change. An email must be sent to HKIS Bus Coordinators at rbchangebus@hkis.edu.hk for Lower Primary students on the Repulse Bay campus and ttchangebus@hkis.edu.hk for Upper Primary students on the Tai Tam campus. Emails must be received by 5 p.m. For example, if you are trying to make a change for Wednesday, an email must be received by Monday at 5 p.m. This will allow our bus coordinators to confirm adequate space on the bus.

Changes are only made if there is space available and are not guaranteed.

No changes will be made on the last day before a holiday or on half days.

Notice given within two days will not be accepted. for a Monday change, the email must be received by Thursday 5 p.m.

R1 & R2 students are not permitted to change buses. This is done to support the developmental needs of the youngest children, given that they may find it challenging to articulate changes and/or to know where they are supposed to be going on a given day.

What happens to students who miss the bus?

Please know that a pattern of missing the bus and arriving by private vehicle is not acceptable. Parents of a student who repeatedly misses the bus and arrives by private vehicle may require a discussion with administrators to see how best they can help and improve the situation.

Can parents drive to school for parent/teacher conferences?

Private vehicles will be permitted to drop-off parents and students for special HKIS events and parent/teacher conferences. However, we ask that families take public transportation for school events as parking is limited and having private cars wait nearby significantly adds to the traffic congestion. We will continue to make buses available for special events, such as Back-to-School nights.

How will HKIS address inappropriate behavior on the bus?

Issues of discipline will be addressed appropriately by the Lower and Upper Primary administration in consultation with the relevant parties.

Can my child have an assigned seat on the bus?

Assigned seats are given on an as needed basis with the involvement of bus supervisors and division administrators, On buses with both Lower Primary and Upper Primary students, LP students sit in the front half of the bus while UP students sit in the back half. The youngest children will sit in the front of the bus. This is also true for the Tai Tam buses: younger students in the front, older students in the back.

At times, we have students who need to sit in the front section of the bus for various reasons which include motion sickness or sitting near the bus supervisor. We always try to make accommodations in the best interest and safety of each student.

Are there seat belts on the buses?

Yes. All buses have seat belts and students must put them on before the bus can depart.

What happens if there is a delay and I am waiting at the bus stop?

The bus company, Kwoon Chung Motors, has an SMS system that can send texts to parents. This system has been in place for the past two years and has helped us communicate information to parents as needed.

How many children will ride each bus?

Some larger buses can hold between 45-65 children while smaller buses will accommodate up to 28 children. However, because of the different activities each day, it is not always possible to accurately predict how many children will be on a particular bus on a given day. We are working with our partner, Kwoon Chung Motors, to maximize the occupancy of each bus, and to ensure that we have the appropriately sized bus for the route.

Some buses appear to be empty. Can HKIS switch to smaller buses?

Ensuring an efficient and convenient transportation network for students and faculty is of utmost importance to us. HKIS bus riders fluctuate on a daily basis due to ASAs and individual student schedules, so it is difficult to ascertain the number of riders on a particular route on a given day. We are considering options to better match buses to the number of riders.

Will there be exceptions for students who walk to school to ride the bus when it rains?

During days of heavy rain, parents may pay $50 for a one-way ticket for their child to ride the bus if there is additional seating available. A Bus Liability Waiver Form must be completed and filed with the school for any walker wishing to use this option. The form can be obtained from the Lower Primary or Upper Primary offices.

Riding to School on Heavy Rain Days
Students will need to be taken to an existing bus stop and if space is permitting, the child may join the bus. A $50 fee will need to be paid to the Bus Supervisor at the time the child joins the bus. In situations such as this, it is important for parents to know the location and pick up time of closest bus stop. Please contact the respective Bus Supervisor, Repulse Bay: Mr. Kenny Chu at kchu@hkis.edu.hk or Mr. Mario Harford at mariharford@hkis.edu.hk mariharford@hkis.edu.hk at Tai Tam or go to the Kwoon Chung Motors website to see the bus schedule at http://school.kcm.com.hk/hkis.

Riding Home from School on Heavy Rain Days
If you would like your child to ride home from school days of heavy rain, please contact the divisional bus coordinators to see if space will be available, to confirm the bus stop and drop off time. If space if available students will be placed on the bus and must be met at the bus stop by an adult. A $50 fee will need to be paid to the Bus Supervisor at the time of drop off. If space is not available students will need to walk home as planned.

As a reminder, these options are only available on inclement weather days.

Can I ride with my child at first to get them used to riding the bus to school?

The buses will usually have some available seats to accommodate parents, but these may not be guaranteed as students take priority. If there is space available, parents may be permitted to ride the bus during the first few weeks of school for a $50 one-way ticket fee.

Health and Safety

Do you have any information available about the bus company’s safety record?

The safety of our students is our top priority. Our long-standing transportation partner, Kwoon Chung Motors, has an excellent safety record. The bus company has been a partner of HKIS since the school opened in Repulse Bay in 1967. They are always open to working with HKIS to improve bus routes and to guarantee the safety of our students. Their drivers take refresher courses during the summer holidays to ensure they stay on top of the latest driving skills and techniques.

I would like to learn more about the bus company’s safety record and how they select drivers. Where can I find that?

The safety of our students is our top priority. Our transportation partner, Kwoon Chung Motors, has an excellent safety record. The bus company has been our partner since 1967. They are always open to working with HKIS to improve bus routes and to guarantee the safety of our students. You can find out more about them on their website http://www.kcm.com.hk.

What level of supervision will be on the bus since most of the drivers do not speak English?

An English-speaking onboard bus monitor (‘Bus Supervisor’) staffs each bus and oversees the safe boarding and disembarking and travel conduct of each student. The Bus Supervisor can also be alerted of a child’s special needs or if the child is to be met at the bus stop by a particular individual. The Bus Supervisor’s primary task is to secure the safety and comfort of all passengers on the bus and this has been a successful system for many years.

In case of emergency, how will we communicate with the drivers?

In the case of an emergency, please contact the respective Bus Supervisor, for each campus; LP: Mr. Kenny Chu at kchu@hkis.edu.hk or UP: Mr. Mario Harford at mariharford@hkis.edu.hk. Either supervisor will immediately contact your child’s bus monitor with any details or instructions.

The first few weeks of school are scary for my child. What can we do to help with that on the bus?

Administration and counselors in both LP and UP will work with individual families to help ease the transition. Bus Mothers are there to make sure that your child is comfortable and safe on the bus. There may also be circumstances when parents are permitted to ride the buses for a $50 one-way ticket fee.

Can a bus rider be dropped off at their home and not be met by an adult?

Only students in Grade 5 may walk home independently after departing from the bus; students in all other grade levels (i.e. R1 - Grade 4) must be met by an adult. Parents of fifth graders must first give consent by ticking the appropriate box in the Transportation section of the 'Student Details Update' page in PowerSchool.

Environment

Will mandatory busing really have a positive impact on the local environment?

Yes. The Hong Kong Government has a campaign to decrease idling of vehicles, in particular in the vicinity of schools. We strive for and attain the highest standards of academic excellence and provide students with a well-rounded education supported by a clear Mission Statement and six Student Learning Results (SLRs). One of our SLRs is “Contributing to Society.” HKIS wants students to develop the skills they need to form genuine relationships in our diverse society and to make contributions to our community. This includes awareness and respect for the environment and the HKIS community. The current daily traffic created by private vehicles picking up and dropping off students causes environmental pollution, safety concerns and hardship for not only the HKIS student body but also our neighbors. Moving to mandatory busing will help ease the strain on Hong Kong and the HKIS environment.

Activities - Before and After-school Activities (ASA)

My child participates in HKIS Repulse Bay ASAs. Will parents be permitted to pick-up children following HKIS ASAs that end at 4 p.m.?

HKIS will continue to offer a 4 p.m. bus run. While not recommended, parents may pick up their children by private vehicle.

My child participates in HKIS Tai Tam ASAs. Will there be busing from Repulse Bay to Tai Tam?

Yes. Busing will be available from Repulse Bay to Tai Tam for students who have activities that begin at 4 p.m. Only bus riders will be permitted to use the bus to Tai Tam, i.e., walkers must walk home first and find their own transportation to Tai Tam. For the most part, activities for LP students will take place at the Repulse Bay campus whenever possible.

My child participates in HKIS Repulse Bay ASAs. Will there be a bus from Tai Tam to Repulse Bay?

Yes. A bus will be available from Tai Tam to Repulse Bay for students who have ASAs activities that begin at 4 p.m. Only bus riders will be permitted to use the bus to Repulse Bay, i.e., walkers must walk home first and find their own transportation to Repulse Bay.

My child participates in non-HKIS ASAs. Will there be busing to accommodate ASAs, or will parents be permitted to pick-up children so that they can partake in their ASAs?

Students will be required to take the bus home. However, with prior arrangement and space availability on the bus, students in Grades 1- 5 would be permitted to get off at a regular bus stop closer to their ASA as long as they are met by an authorized person and as long as the activity is regularly scheduled, i.e., the same day every week.

My child participates in an early morning activity at Tai Tam. What options are available since my child cannot be picked up from home?

With prior written notice and approval, students with early morning activities in Tai Tam could take the normal bus that picks up at the Tai Tam Campus and goes to Repulse Bay.

Can HKIS accommodate tutors on-campus since children will no longer have access to private vehicle transportation to attend these after-school activities?

HKIS is unable to open its campus to private tutors due to security concerns and the vetting that would have to occur to allow these individuals access to a facility for children.

Walkers

I live very close to school. Can I walk my child to/from school?

All Lower Primary and Upper Primary students will be required to take the bus to/from school unless they live within a predetermined walking radius of the Repulse Bay or Tai Tam campuses.

What is the walking radius for the Repulse Bay campus?

The walking radius includes the following:

-All of South Bay Close
-All of South Bay Road including 74-80 and 82-86 Repulse Bay Road which are accessed from South Bay Road
-All complexes on Repulse Bay Road between Repulse Bay Garden (24 Belleview Drive) to the Lily (129 Repulse Bay Road) including the following addresses:

  • 94 Repulse Bay Road
  • 96 Repulse Bay Road
  • 98 Repulse Bay Road
  • 101 Repulse Bay Road
  • 109 Repulse Bay Road
  • 111 Repulse Bay Road
  • 113 Repulse Bay Road
  • 115 Repulse Bay Road
  • 117 Repulse Bay Road
  • 119A Repulse Bay Road
  • 121 Repulse Bay Road
  • 123 Repulse Bay Road
  • 125 Repulse Bay Road
  • 127 Repulse Bay Road
  • 129 Repulse Bay Road

If you believe you are within walking distance of the school and can offer proof of residency (copy of home purchase or lease) and your address is not shown, please contact an administrator relevant to your child’s division.

What is the walking radius for the Tai Tam campus?

The walking radius includes the following:

All Red Hill Peninsula apartments and homes.
  • Palm Drive
  • Cedar Drive
  • HKIS Middle and High School Families
  • 12 Pak Pat Shan Rd.
  • 8 Pak Pat Shan Rd.

If you believe you are within walking distance of the school and can offer proof of residency (copy of home purchase or lease) and your address is not shown, please contact an administrator relevant to your child’s division.

Will there be exceptions for students who walk to school to ride the bus when it rains?

During days of heavy rain, parents may pay $50 for a one-way ticket for their child to ride the bus if there is additional seating available. A Bus Liability Waiver Form must be completed and filed with the school for any walker wishing to use this option. The form can be accessed at:

Rainy Day Bus Rider Consent

Riding to School on Heavy Rain Days
Students will need to be taken to an existing bus stop and if space is permitting, the child may join the bus. A $50 fee will need to be paid to the Bus Mother at the time the child joins the bus. In situations such as this, it is important for parents to know the location and pick up time of closest bus stop. Please be sure to contact the respective bus supervisor for each division, Repulse Bay: Mr. Kenny Chu at kchu@hkis.edu.hk; Tai Tam: Mr. Mario Harford at mariharford@hkis.edu.hk.

Riding Home from School on Heavy Rain Days
If you would like your child to ride home from school days of heavy rain, please contact the respective bus Supervisor for each division, Repulse Bay: Mr. Kenny Chu at kchu@hkis.edu.hk; Tai Tam: Mr. Mario Harford at mariharford@hkis.edu.hk to see if space will be available, to confirm the bus stop and drop off time. If space if available students will be placed on the bus and must be met at the bus stop by an adult. A $50 fee will need to be paid to the Bus Mother at the time of drop off. If space is not available students will need to walk home as planned.

As a reminder, these options are only available on inclement weather days.

Bus Slideshow