Is a School Bus a Common Carrier ?

In Jane Doe v. Rockdale School District, No. 84, 287 Ill. App. 3d 791, 794, 679 N.E.2d 771, 223 Ill. Dec. 320 (1997), the Court addressed the issue of whether a school bus was a common carrier. In that case, the plaintiff was assaulted by another student as he was transported to school. The bus company was operating pursuant to a contract with the school district to transport special education students at an agreed upon rate and for an agreed upon period of time. The contract did not provide for the transportation of any additional passengers or cargo. This court found on appeal that the bus company was not a common carrier because it did not provide services to the general public. The court noted that the bus company neither advertised its services to the general public nor transported indiscriminately all members of the public who applied. The court also noted that the bus company provided a specific service to a specific group of people because it only transported special education students between home and school by specific agreement. In conclusion, the court determined the bus company was acting as a private carrier and not a common carrier when the assault occurred. Rockdale, 287 Ill. App. 3d at 796.