Up to 37 more school buses will be added in the Halifax region to help improve bus service for students this school year.
Government will also consult with parents, School Advisory Councils, principals and the Provincial Advisory Council on Education, about a new busing policy, including service standards for the entire province.
“Parents have a right to expect safe, reliable bus service for their children,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “We heard from many parents about issues with busing this year, along with challenges that persist year over year.
“With our new governance and administration changes, we have an opportunity to address busing issues in a way that would not have been possible before. Our goal is to apply consistent service standards across our regions to improve bus service for all students.”
Courtesy bus and special needs busing applications increased substantially this year. Together with the introduction of new technology intended to better manage bus requests, the changes and additional demand for service impacted pick-up and drop-off times, bus routing, and caused service delays.
The province will invest $1.9 million for more buses. An implementation plan for adding these buses in the Halifax region is being developed. The deputy minister of Education and Early Childhood Development will be holding regular progress update meetings with Stock Transportation, the company which provides bus service, and the Halifax Regional Centre for Education.
The busing consultation will be launched in October. All parents and community members will have an opportunity to have their voices heard through an online survey. Feedback will be used for a new set of busing service standards for September, including busing distances.