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9-year-old lost after school bus drops her off in the wrong Ottawa neighbourhood

The first day of school can be hectic for most kids and parents, but one Ottawa family had a scare when the school bus dropped off their nine-year-old daughter in the wrong neighbourhood.

"When the bus pulled up, the doors open and we told the driver we were waiting for our daughter, but she wasn't on the bus," John Spicer said.

Spicer and his wife Jill Dyson reliving a nerve-wracking first day of school.

"The bus stopped and she saw houses that she thought were in our area," Spicer said. "And she got off the bus and started walking home. But she wasn't in our area."

Their daughter was let off blocks away from the corner she should have been dropped off at.

"I got off at the stop and they didn't ask any questions and it was long," Spicer's daughter said. "It was like a long walk."

New to Ottawa, she then had to figure out where to go and how to get home. She walked for more than 20 minutes on one of the hottest days of the summer before finally finding her house.

Spicer's daughter says the driver should be confirming who gets off and where. 

"They should be asking you what your name is and make sure that you're at the right stop."

Spicer says once he realized his daughter was missing, he started making phone calls. But he says it was difficult to figure out what happened or where she was.

"Nobody wants to take responsibility for these things," Spicer says. "So you talk to the school, they say talk to (Ottawa Student Transportation Authority). You talk to OSTA, they say, 'Oh, it's the bus company.' There's no responsibility and accountability. It is just everybody passing the buck to everybody else."

The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority says a parent's first call should go to the bus company that is transporting your child.  

"We always recommend that parents contact the operator first," says Vicky Kyriaco, OSTA Chief Administrative Officer. "So they're the very first point of contact who can radio the driver right away. If they call OSTA, we have to call the operator and then that creates a bit of a delay there."

Dyson says it is also difficult to even figure out which bus her daughter is supposed to take in the morning.

"The bus numbers are like on a piece of paper on the side of the bus, which you can't see," Dyson said. "So you have to kind of go into the road. Check out the sides of the bus, wave them down and get them to tell you what bus they are."

Spicer says he understands that these things could happen when kids and drivers are still figuring things out on the first week of school, but says the system needs work. 

"Fortunately, our daughter did make it home yesterday and she was fine and a little warm and all that," Spicer said. "We cooled her down and she was okay. But I mean, it could have been a lot worse." Top Stories

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