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OSTA outlines next steps as it aims to solve school bus driver shortage

The authority that manages school buses for Ottawa's English public and catholic school boards says it is taking steps to rectify disruptions to bus service in the capital.

The new school year began without enough drivers, and more than 9,000 students were left without school bus transportation. Frustrations have been mounting as parents, many of them living in rural parts of Ottawa, have had to rearrange their schedules to drive their kids to school. In same cases, drivers have faced abuse and have quit.

The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) said Tuesday that since Sept. 5, it has managed to reinstate 94 runs and it is taking several steps to improve the situation for students.

In the next two to three weeks, OSTA says it will address immediate safety concerns, train new drivers, work with new students, accommodate new enrollments and prioritize phone calls and transportation issues form concerns.

In the next several weeks to months, it plans to explore the possibility of Coach Lines providing shuttle service for high school students, redesign routes to combine or extend them, change some bus stops, and reassign some students to OC Transpo or vans, where available.

OSTA says it plans to send out a request for interest/information in the next 30 days to find new bus drivers interested in taking over the contract serving the city's west end. There is also a plan to work with the school boards to review school operations, including start and end times, to see if that can help move more students.

"It is important to note that these solutions will take time to implement," OSTA says. "Our staff needs to explore options, establish agreements with potential vendors, make changes to routes, and communicate with drivers and parents/guardians. We appreciate your continued patience and understanding throughout this process." Top Stories

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