Calgary's public school board says bus fees for most students will remain the same next year, while some will be reduced or even eliminated.

Changing school start times to allow buses to make more than one trip during the morning rush will make that possible, said Calgary Board of Education Chief Superintendent Dave Stevenson at an announcement on Tuesday.

"School hours will be aligned at all schools that use our transportation services to optimize yellow school bus service," he said.

Start times will change by 15 to 30 minutes, according to Stevenson. 

The new, more efficient approach will save the board $3.5 million in the 2017-18 year, and an additional $1 million to $2 million in 2018-19, he said.

Bill 1

Because of Bill 1 — the Alberta government law that eliminates 25 per cent of mandatory school fees — the CBE has eliminated transportation fees for kindergarten to Grade 9 students who live 2.4 km or more away from their designated regular program school and who take a yellow school bus.

Grade 6 to 12 students who live more than 2.4 km from their designated school attending a regular program and assigned to Calgary Transit will be expected to buy a monthly bus pass for $70 per month.

The CBE will then rebate families $549 per year.  

Students in alternative programs who are assigned to yellow school buses will be charged $335 per year, as will regular program yellow bus riders living closer than 2.4 km to their schools.

Stable service levels 

Stevenson said for the majority of students attending a regular program at their designated school, transportation service levels will remain similar to what is currently provided.

Most elementary students will have bus stops within 1.6 km of their homes and middle school/junior high students will have stops within 1.8 km of their homes.

The majority of students will access a bus stop that is approximately 500 metres from their homes, the CBE says.