School Bus Delays Remain Huge Problem in Mississauga
After months of school bus delays, the Peel District School Board (PDSB) is calling for additional funds to help address the problem.
The PDSB recently announced that trustees are launching a social media campaign intent on asking the province to help #StoptheBusDelays with additional funding.
” Peel District School Board Trustees have launched a lobbying campaign to seek provincial funds to help mitigate ongoing bus delays caused by a shortage of qualified school bus drivers in the Greater Toronto Area,” the PDSB said in a statement. “Trustees committed to the campaign at the regular meeting of the board on Jan. 9, 2018, following over a year of significant bus delays at more than 50 Peel schools.”
The delays have been an ongoing issue in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.
“Children and their families are waiting at the curbside or school entrances for extended periods of time for a service that they not only deserve, but require, in order to get to and from school each day,” Chair of the Board Janet McDougald wrote in a letter to the Minister of Education.
“This is not acceptable. The impact on schools, students and their families has been tremendous and cannot be sustained. Trustees have heard countless stories of parents missing work to drive their children to and from school, and school staff having to wait with students well beyond the end of the school day for their buses to arrive. Most importantly, students are missing out on hours of key learning opportunities, all due to an issue they have no control over.”
According to a report released by board staff an d Student Transportation of Peel Region (STOPR) , there is currently a shortfall of nearly 70 school bus drivers in Peel Region, which means that approximately 150 of the Peel board’s daily bus runs do not have a regular driver.
The PDSB says this has been the case since the early fall.
Each morning and afternoon, over 50 schools are reportedly faced with bus delays ranging from 20 minutes to over an hour.
“It is our understanding that bus service providers continue to work to hire and train more drivers to fill their vacancies, and STOPR is working closely with these companies to adjust and consolidate routes; however, these efforts have not been able to resolve these ongoing delays,” says McDougald.
“We aren’t able to turn to other service providers to assist as they are also struggling to maintain a sufficient number of drivers to meet their own contractual requirements or they charge fees that well exceed the board’s provincially allocated transportation budget.”
To address the issue now while they wait for a more permanent solution, the Board of Trustees says it’s calling on impacted families, staff and community members to ask their local MPPs to advocate for Peel students by urging the ministry to provide additional transportation funding to reduce bus delays this school year.
“We have exhausted our options, and now look to the province for support in the short-term by providing much needed funding to help with bus driver recruitment and to assist the board in exploring other transportation options for our students,” says McDougald.
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