Some Hamilton school bus routes may be cancelled due to driver shortage

OPEN DIGITAL ACCESS Sep 15, 2020 by Jacob Lorinc, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Hamilton Spectator

Despite additional funding and new financial incentives for school bus drivers, Hamilton’s school boards are still experiencing a significant shortage of drivers and have warned families that bus routes may be cancelled as a result.

The Catholic school board emailed families about the possibility of route cancellations Tuesday afternoon, and Hamilton’s public board is expected to follow suit.

“We have not as of yet cancelled routes so as to mitigate against the bus driver shortage. Saying that, we may have no other alternative to do so if this situation does not improve,” said the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board in its letter to parents.

The boards have struggled significantly to attract drivers as fears of COVID-19 spreading within the vehicles have dissuaded potential workers from getting behind the wheel. While all students are required to wear masks on buses and drivers are tasked with cleaning the vehicles three times a day, many buses are expected to be packed with students unable to maintain physical distance from their peers.

Hamilton’s boards announced last week that they need between 59 and 67 more drivers to take students to school and reduce serious delays among several transportation routes across the city.

The boards typically experience a shortage of 20 to 30 drivers, but the numbers have increased significantly this year.

In a meeting on Monday, the public board said it will begin consolidated routes on Wednesday to try to improve the situation, though delays are expected to continue.

Stacey Zucker, associate director of support services, said that pickup and drop-off times may change as a result of the reorganization and that families should check the Hamilton-Wentworth Student Transportation Services website for updated times.

“Once we have a better understanding of who’s taking the bus, and we actually have the ridership, we may be able to consolidate further,” Zucker said.

The boards say that an incentive program to recruit drivers has not helped.

“Despite measures implemented to date, including the ongoing driver incentive programs and unprecedented recruitment, we do not see this matter improving in the near future,” the Catholic board wrote on Tuesday.

The boards have not specified what is offered in the driver incentive program.

Jacob Lorinc’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. The funding allows him to report on stories about education.

Some Hamilton school bus routes may be cancelled due to driver shortage

Recruitment has failed to boost ranks of drivers, so school boards bracing parents for possible changes

OPEN DIGITAL ACCESS Sep 15, 2020 by Jacob Lorinc, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Hamilton Spectator

Despite additional funding and new financial incentives for school bus drivers, Hamilton’s school boards are still experiencing a significant shortage of drivers and have warned families that bus routes may be cancelled as a result.

The Catholic school board emailed families about the possibility of route cancellations Tuesday afternoon, and Hamilton’s public board is expected to follow suit.

“We have not as of yet cancelled routes so as to mitigate against the bus driver shortage. Saying that, we may have no other alternative to do so if this situation does not improve,” said the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board in its letter to parents.

The boards have struggled significantly to attract drivers as fears of COVID-19 spreading within the vehicles have dissuaded potential workers from getting behind the wheel. While all students are required to wear masks on buses and drivers are tasked with cleaning the vehicles three times a day, many buses are expected to be packed with students unable to maintain physical distance from their peers.

Related Content

Hamilton’s boards announced last week that they need between 59 and 67 more drivers to take students to school and reduce serious delays among several transportation routes across the city.

The boards typically experience a shortage of 20 to 30 drivers, but the numbers have increased significantly this year.

In a meeting on Monday, the public board said it will begin consolidated routes on Wednesday to try to improve the situation, though delays are expected to continue.

Stacey Zucker, associate director of support services, said that pickup and drop-off times may change as a result of the reorganization and that families should check the Hamilton-Wentworth Student Transportation Services website for updated times.

“Once we have a better understanding of who’s taking the bus, and we actually have the ridership, we may be able to consolidate further,” Zucker said.

The boards say that an incentive program to recruit drivers has not helped.

“Despite measures implemented to date, including the ongoing driver incentive programs and unprecedented recruitment, we do not see this matter improving in the near future,” the Catholic board wrote on Tuesday.

The boards have not specified what is offered in the driver incentive program.

Jacob Lorinc’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. The funding allows him to report on stories about education.

Some Hamilton school bus routes may be cancelled due to driver shortage

Recruitment has failed to boost ranks of drivers, so school boards bracing parents for possible changes

OPEN DIGITAL ACCESS Sep 15, 2020 by Jacob Lorinc, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Hamilton Spectator

Despite additional funding and new financial incentives for school bus drivers, Hamilton’s school boards are still experiencing a significant shortage of drivers and have warned families that bus routes may be cancelled as a result.

The Catholic school board emailed families about the possibility of route cancellations Tuesday afternoon, and Hamilton’s public board is expected to follow suit.

“We have not as of yet cancelled routes so as to mitigate against the bus driver shortage. Saying that, we may have no other alternative to do so if this situation does not improve,” said the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board in its letter to parents.

The boards have struggled significantly to attract drivers as fears of COVID-19 spreading within the vehicles have dissuaded potential workers from getting behind the wheel. While all students are required to wear masks on buses and drivers are tasked with cleaning the vehicles three times a day, many buses are expected to be packed with students unable to maintain physical distance from their peers.

Related Content

Hamilton’s boards announced last week that they need between 59 and 67 more drivers to take students to school and reduce serious delays among several transportation routes across the city.

The boards typically experience a shortage of 20 to 30 drivers, but the numbers have increased significantly this year.

In a meeting on Monday, the public board said it will begin consolidated routes on Wednesday to try to improve the situation, though delays are expected to continue.

Stacey Zucker, associate director of support services, said that pickup and drop-off times may change as a result of the reorganization and that families should check the Hamilton-Wentworth Student Transportation Services website for updated times.

“Once we have a better understanding of who’s taking the bus, and we actually have the ridership, we may be able to consolidate further,” Zucker said.

The boards say that an incentive program to recruit drivers has not helped.

“Despite measures implemented to date, including the ongoing driver incentive programs and unprecedented recruitment, we do not see this matter improving in the near future,” the Catholic board wrote on Tuesday.

The boards have not specified what is offered in the driver incentive program.

Jacob Lorinc’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. The funding allows him to report on stories about education.