Ottawa Student Transport Authority eyes vans, coach services and OC Transpo to shuttle students during driver shortage
OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority insists it's taking steps to reinstate school bus service for hundreds students without a bus ride to school this fall.
The plan includes using van service, offering shuttle service and providing OC Transpo passes to high school students.
On Sept. 11, the authority announced more than 2,300 Ottawa students won't be taking their regular school buses due to a "severe driver shortage." At the time, the authority was short more than 100 bus drivers for yellow school buses.
Several school bus routes have been cancelled since the start of the school year.
In a statement on Thursday, OSTA says it has started working on reinstating services using a number of "creative strategies." When service is ready to resume for a group of students, a notice will be sent to the school and the school will contact families.
The strategies for school bus service includes:
- Transferring students to different routes
- Combining multiple routes
- Transferring high school students to OC Transpo
- Transferring students to van service
- Offering shuttle service at congregated stops
- Hiring new bus companies
- Finding alternate drivers through coach services
The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority says it's working with schools to contact parents to identify students who are not planning on using transportations options this fall. Parents who have made alternate arrangements to OPT-OUT are asked to complete the online form. The OSTA says that will release seats on buses so it can re-assign students from cancelled routes.
On Thursday, the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority announced four routes serving four schools are cancelled until further notice.
The authority is also continuing to hire new drivers for the school year.