Areas across the province are struggling with school bus services for the new school year, however, transportation services are running smoothly in Guelph.
Transportation consortiums and school boards across the province are facing concerns of bus drivers quitting due to COVID-19 safety concerns and a shortage of bus routes as a result of fewer drivers.
“Although our system is still working through a staggered start, transportation routes are progressing without the disruptions that have been impacted other areas,” said Glen Regier, superintendent of finance at the UGDSB board meeting on Tuesday.
Mike Glazier, superintendent of education at the Wellington Catholic District School Board said their board has also experienced no shortages.
"The school bus operators have also done an excellent job in retaining bus drivers. As a result, we have not experienced the shortages that are being felt in other jurisdictions,” said Glazier in an email.
Regier said the transportation consortium coordinates just under 500 routes and 80 per cent of those routes are for the Upper Grand District School Board.
A big change for the UGDSB this year is the addition of 200 noon hour routes for secondary students.
“In some cases, these are routes that would normally run at the end of the day, however, for all of them, these routes require new scheduling and coordination of bus drivers,” said Regier.
While there have been some bus delays, Regier said the reason for those delays are primarily road delays and construction.
He said the average busload for students has also dropped from 46 students last year to 34 students this year. However, this might change as students opt-in and of transportation services as the school year progresses.
“For this, we are grateful for our bus drivers, the bus companies and the consortium that works to help coordinate all the bus operations,” said Regier.
“We are very appreciative of the work of Wellington Dufferin Student Transportation Services and our bus drivers this year in ensuring we had transportation in place for our families at the start of the school year,” said Glazier.