School bus operators make the call to cancel routes during bad weather
January 29, 2023
If you think the local school boards are making the decisions to cancel school buses due to inclement weather, you would be wrong.
That responsibility lies with the school bus operators.
With the numerous school bus cancellations in the past few weeks, due to freezing rain, heavy snowfall and icy road conditions, the Kincardine Record contacted the Student Transportation Service Consortium of Grey-Bruce, which provides school buses for the Grey-Bruce Catholic District School Board and the Bluewater District School Board, and asked whose job is it anyway?
Brian Hayman, general manager of purchasing and transportation, says there is a process that school bus operators follow in order to cancel bus routes.
All the policies and procedures can be found on the consortium’s website at www.brucegreyschoolbus.ca/consortium_links/policies_procedures, he says, and the specific document is TCP-B006 which states: “Bus service may be cancelled when, at the discretion of the bus operator, the safety of the students, driver, or other commuters would be put at risk by operating. Operators will balance the value of the service they provide, with the risk of operating, when making a decision.
“Cancellations may be for any combination of:
- Poor visibility, often caused by snow, blowing snow, or fog.
- Poor road conditions, often caused by snow or ice.
- Extreme cold conditions resulting in fuel gelling, and the reliability of other diesel engine components in extreme cold weather that compromises the vehicles ability to run in extreme cold temperatures. Failure of a bus to run in extreme cold puts the safety of the riders at risk.”
Hayman says the consortium has six bus operators with eight locations across Bruce and Grey counties, and each has a process to assess both current and future conditions.
The bus operators have a network of contacts throughout the region, including municipal road crews, county roads crews, local spotters, and weather forecasts. Once the data is gathered by each individual operator, there is a discussion among the operators within the zone and a decision is made to run or cancel.
When that decision has been made, ideally before 6:30 a.m., a bus operator will post the zone closure on the consortium’s General Notice section and each operator will cancel its own routes in the Transportation Alerts section.
School board officials, schools, parents, and radio stations monitor the delays and cancellations website, at mybrucegreyschoolbus.ca/alerts, for postings, and can sign up for E-mail and/or SMS notifications within the website portal.
“All of the delays and cancellations can be found at this website, including cancellations for both inclement weather and driver shortages,” says Hayman.
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