Ottawa's school bus authority has begun reinstating some school transportation service that was suspended because of a severe school bus driver shortage, but says students' rides to class will likely be different than before.
School bus service began on September 14, but the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) cancelled transportation services for more than 2,300 Ottawa students in the English public and Catholic boards due to a major shortage of school bus drivers.
Families are now being informed as to whather or not their children will be getting school transportation back, but the OSTA says it won't necessarily look the same as before even if they do. The OSTA is transferring students to different routes, as seats are freed up by students' families opting out of school buses. It's also transferring high school students to OC Transpo, and moving others to van and coach services while hiring more drivers for yellow buses.
"As service is ready to resume for a group of students, a notice will be sent to the school and the school will contact the families of the cancelled route," OSTA wrote in an update to parents. "The OSTA will also send a notice to families who are subscribed to our e-mail list."
The shortage of school bus drivers came after many existing drivers decided they weren't comfortable with the risk of driving a school bus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many school bus drivers are retirees in higher-risk groups for COVID-19 complications.