Changes Coming for School Bus Service

**** EDUCATION/EARLY CHILDHOOD Development Media Release

Changes Coming for School Bus Service

Changes are coming to the way school bus service is delivered in the Halifax region, after thousands of families made their views known through a provincial online survey.

The Halifax Regional Centre for Education is preparing a request for proposals to determine what options other than Stock Transportation may be available for school bus service in Halifax.

“We heard loud and clear from students and families of the challenges and frustrations they’ve experienced with school bussing this year centreing on the Halifax Regional Centre for Education,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “Families can be confident that immediate and long-term improvements to strengthen student transportation are on the way.”

More than 8,000 people across the province completed an online school bus consultation survey.

The results showed that respondents outside of the Halifax region were satisfied with the service. Concerns among respondents were strongest in Halifax.

The top three areas of concern were communication, safety and service reliability.

“Families haven’t had the experience they expect so we need to create a better, more reliable, service for them,” said Elwin LeRoux, regional executive director for Halifax. “The current contract includes responsibilities that we believe are better managed internally.

“We want our transportation provider focused on getting students to school safely and on time. Making some changes now – and looking at future options – will improve the experience for our students and families.”

Stock Transportation will continue to deliver busing service for 2019-20, until a new contract is in place.

In September 2019, Halifax Regional Centre for Education will begin providing greater oversight in the areas of communication and routing, with a plan to completely take over these responsibilities for September 2020.

It will hire seven new people to do this work at a cost of about $464,000. When a new contract is in place the following year, the cost will become part of the centre’s operating budget.

The new request for proposal will require a provider to purchase, drive, maintain buses and ensure the safety of students on their trips to and from school. It will also be designed in a way that may result in multiple vendors providing transportation services.

Stock Transportation now transports 23,000 students to and from schools in the Halifax region each day.

The Halifax Regional Centre for Education expects to issue the request for proposal for busing service this summer. The feedback received from the consultation will be informative in the development of the request. All tenders issued by regional centres for education are posted on the government procurement website at

A new provincial student transportation policy is also under development. It will be implemented in September 2020.

To review the consultation results, visit,

** Response via HRCE

Earlier today, I informed Stock Transportation that the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) will be ending our current contract with them. Families of children using this service will wonder what this means and how it will affect them.
Why is this happening?
Families have not had the experience with student transportation that we expect. Our efforts to improve have not been effective enough, and the current transportation contract is not sufficient to make it better. A new one is needed.
How will it be different?
Similar to other large school districts, we will only hire a bus service provider to supply, maintain and drive busses according to the routes we provide. HRCE no longer wishes to contract services like communication and routing, as we do currently. Instead, we want to retain those functions and be more responsive to families, especially in these areas. We also want our service provider(s) to focus on getting students to and from school safely and on time.
What’s next?
In early July, the HRCE will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to determine what other options may be available for student transportation service in our region. We expect a provider (or providers) to be in place for the 2020-2021 school year. As part of this process, we will explore better options, including having different companies potentially operating in different areas of HRCE.​
Who will be busing my child to school this September?
Stock Transportation will continue to provide student transportation for the remainder of this school year and for the entire 2019-2020 school year. Why? It will take a year to have one or more service providers up and running in our region.
Families haven’t reliably had the experience they expect. We are creating a better and more reliable service. Between now and September, we will communicate regularly with you as we get ready for a new school year. We bus more than 23,000 students to school every day so I wanted to let you know directly why I made the decision to retender this contract.

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