Ottawa School Boards Warn of Potential Bus Service Disruptions This Fall

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The English language public and Catholic school boards in Ottawa have warned families of potential disruptions to school bus transportation this fall. This alert was relayed through emails sent by Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB), referencing unsuccessful negotiations conducted by the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) with one of the 10 bus companies serving Ottawa schools.

The communication clarified that due to an inability to renew the contracts with the service for some West End schools in both boards, student transportation routes may be affected. Yet, there is assurance these changes will not affect the students who utilize OC Transpo in the West End. To address this issue, OSTA is partnering with other bus operators in an attempt to craft viable solutions.

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In addition to the aforementioned negotiation failure, there is a continued shortage of school bus drivers and the loss of another bus company, which formerly served 36 routes. These compounding factors will likely bring about further challenges for Ottawa student transportation.

The school boards admitted that while most students have secured transportation for the majority of students, the situation can be difficult and frustrating for families who are suddenly tasked with arranging alternative transport for their children. However, they reiterated their commitment to continuous collaboration with OSTA to seek other feasible resolutions.

OSTA plans to open its parent portal on Wednesday to further engage with parents and provide necessary updates. Meanwhile, classes for students in both the OCDSB and the OCSB are set to resume on September 5th.

As of now, neither of Ottawa’s two French language school boards, the French public and catholic school boards, have given any updates on possible school bus disruptions as classes are due to resume on Tuesday.