STA Information for High School Students

  • Like many districts across the nation, Spokane Public Schools reevaluated its transportation model and service options to address the ongoing bus driver shortage. After a careful review of new boundaries, routes, and stops, the SPS School Board made the decision for SPS to form a partnership with Spokane Transit Authority (STA) for increased high school ridership.

    SPS and STA provided the first of two family informational webinars on Sept. 1. You can watch a recording here (Passcode: W7=ex.2Y).

    Find your STA route here.

  • High school students residing outside the 1.5-mile walk zone radius

    These students will be provided transportation via STA bus and will receive their SPS Connect Card at their high school. Access STA route information here.

    Only for the month of September, these students will use the STA Summer Youth Pass. STA Summer Youth passes will be distributed to your student at their launch conference scheduled for either Thursday, September 1, or Friday, September 2. Families were sent student launch conference information on Friday, Aug. 19. Families and students unable to attend launch conferences can receive their STA Summer Youth Pass Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at their high school. 

    In late September, your student will receive their SPS Connect card at their high school. On October 1, the SPS Connect card will be activated, and the Summer Youth Pass will expire.

  • High school students residing outside the 1.5-mile walk zone radius with limited STA access

    These students will be provided transportation via yellow school bus or van. Access yellow bus route information here.

  • High school students residing within the 1.5-mile walk zone radius

    These students will not receive yellow bus or van service but have the option to use STA services. Access STA route information here.

    Only for the month of September, these students can use the STA Summer Youth Pass. These students can receive their Summer Youth Pass at a City of Spokane library. On October 1, the Summer Youth Pass will expire, and the STA Connect Riders License cards will be activated. Prior to October 1, your student can acquire a zero-fare STA Connect Rider's License card by visiting the STA Plaza, STA website, or by calling 509-328-RIDE (7433).


My student lives inside the walk boundary radius and was able to ride the bus before. Why are they no longer eligible to ride the bus?

Previously, some neighborhoods had areas designated as hazardous zones if infrastructure did not provide a safe walking route to school. In recent years, many of these neighborhoods received infrastructure improvements, including crosswalks, sidewalks, and street design improvements. Because of increased safety measures in your neighborhood and a new safe walking route, your area is no longer a hazardous zone, and your student(s) will no longer be eligible for school bus transportation for the 2022-23 school year.

Why does my student have a new stop?

SPS consolidated some bus stops to increase the efficiency of routes by reducing the number of neighborhood stops.

Why did the walk zone increase for middle and high school students?

In response to the national bus driver shortage, the SPS Board of Directors supported expanding the middle and high school walk boundary to 1.5-mile radius to allow for more efficient routes, better on-time arrival, and to establish routes to better utilize available capacity per bus, which will minimize learning minute loss and ensure all students arrive safely and on time. We found this distance to be consistent with bus eligibility boundaries for secondary students in other districts across the state and country.

Was the walk zone increased for elementary students?

No. The walk zone boundary remains a 1-mile radius for elementary students.

Will SPS issue bus passes for riding STA?

Yes, SPS will issue SPS Connect cards to eligible high school students outside the walk boundary. SPS Connect cards are issued directly by schools and not by STA.

What if my child lives within the 1.5 mile walk boundary?

They will be eligible for an STA Connect Rider’s License card from Spokane Transit Authority. STA will implement zero-fare policies for all youth, ages 18 and under, on Oct. 1, 2022. This is part of a transportation package that the legislature approved in March and that will be dispersed over the next 16 years.

What is the difference between the SPS Connect card and the STA Connect Rider’s License card?

The card issued by SPS to eligible high school students is the SPS Connect card.

The card that allows youth ages 6-18 to ride with zero-fare is the Rider’s License ( It is issued through STA and not available through SPS.

If STA Connect Rider's License cards don’t start until Oct. 1, how will my student get to school in September?

For students eligible for the SPS Connect card, the free STA Summer Pass will be distributed at the launch conferences and is valid through Sept. 30.

For those not eligible for the SPS Connect card, any youth aged 6-18 or in grades K-12 can still get a free STA Summer Pass at the STA Plaza, a Spokane Public Library branch, a Spokane County Library District branch, or the Liberty Lake Municipal Library. The student must be present to receive the pass. Please visit for more information.

Will STA Connect Rider's License cards be available for middle school students at their neighborhood school?

Middle school students can receive a zero-fare STA Connect Rider’s License card at a location designated by Spokane Transit Authority. Learn more at

Which students are eligible to receive an SPS Connect card through their school?

High school students who live outside the 1.5-mile radius walk boundary are eligible to receive an SPS Connect card through their school.

Why can’t my student get their STA Connect Rider’s License card at school? Why does my student have to go to STA to pick up their STA Connect Rider’s License card?

SPS Connect cards and STA Connect cards are different. SPS issues the SPS Connect card to eligible high school students.

High school students that live outside the 1.5-mile radius walk boundary are eligible to receive an SPS Connect card.

STA Connect cards are for the general public and issued by STA. One of STA’s reduced fare programs is the Rider’s License, which allows youth aged 6-18 to ride with zero-fare. While cards can be picked up at the STA Plaza, STA will also have a process to mail them to your home.

What happens if my student loses their SPS Connect card?

If an eligible high school student loses their SPS Connect card, they can receive a new card from their neighborhood high school.

Students that received a Rider’s License STA Connect card from STA will need to contact STA for a replacement card. Call 509-328-RIDE for assistance.

Who do I call if I want to express concerns about an incident on an STA bus?

Please contact STA at 509-328-RIDE (7433). 

What are the rules on an STA bus?

Please visit for information about appropriate conduct while using STA transportation. 

  • Contact

    Transportation questions? Call our hotline at 509-354-5970.

    Transportation Regulations and Procedures
    Click here to download

STA Connect Card
  • Which Connect card is right for you? Find out here!

    Find STA route information here.

    Find information on STA's zero-fare pass here.