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Ottawa school bus authority appoints interim operations manager

The organization that oversees school bus service for tens of thousands of students in Ottawa has appointed an interim manager, as the Ontario NDP calls on the Ontario government to expedite the approval of medical reports for potential bus drivers to fill the driver shortage in Ottawa.

The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority announced the board of directors appointed Cindy Owens as the interim operations manager, effective immediately.

The OSTA board of directors announced on Monday that Vicky Kyriaco had taken a leave of absence after a difficult start to the school year for many families with students in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and Ottawa Catholic School Board.

The student transportation authority says Owens will work with parents and schools to address the bus driver shortage, focusing on short-term and long-term solutions.

"Ms. Owens has significant education and leadership experience, previously serving her community as a Superintendent of Human Resources and Principal with the Ottawa Catholic School Board. She holds a Master of Business Administration and brings years of private sector experience to the position," the OSTA said.

 "Working closely with the OSTA Board of Directors, Ms. Owens will collaborate with parents and schools to address the bus driver shortage, implementing short-term and long-term solutions quickly and effectively."

More than 9,000 students in the two school boards were left without school bus transportation for the start of the school year due to a driver shortage.  The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority said it had negotiated agreements with nine out of 10 bus companies serving Ottawa, and a contract for service to some west end schools was not reached.

The OSTA says steps to resolve the driver shortage include training new drivers and looking at having coach buses provide transportation.

Since Sept. 5, OSTA said it was able to reinstate 94 school bus runs.

Drivers waiting for a license?

Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Chandra Pasma says some potential drivers are still waiting for a license to drive a school bus, and is now calling on the minister of transportation to expedite the processing of medical reports.

"It has come to our attention that there are dozens of potential bus drivers willing and ready to fill the shortage in Ottawa, but their medical reports are facing processing delays in the Ministry of Transportation, meaning licenses are not being issued," Pasma said in a letter to the minister.

"Some of these prospective drivers have been waiting for three months for their medical reports to be processed." Top Stories


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