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Group responsible for busing Toronto students says it’s facing driver shortage ahead of school year

NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Aug 29th, 2017

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The group responsible for transporting thousands of Toronto students to school every day says it is facing a bus driver shortage just a week before classes begin.

In a letter to parents (full letter below), the Toronto Student Transportation Group (TSTG) said both “Sharp Bus Lines and Stock Transportation have indicated that they have insufficient drivers to cover all of their routes.”

The TSTG coordinates transportation for the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

The group says contingency plans are in place, including the reassigning of drivers, and bringing in additional drivers.

“We will be confirming this information on Wednesday and following up with the bus operators to ensure that the new drivers are familiar with the routes prior to school start on Tuesday,” it said.

“To be clear, these adjustments impact 21 (1%) of the 1750 total bus routes. Unlike last year, which saw approximately 60 routes without drivers, we have been assured by bus operators that all of these routes will be covered by alternate/spare drivers.”

A TDSB spokesperson told CityNews that the public will be notified if the issue is not resolved.

Last school year, thousands of Toronto students were stranded by driver shortages that affected 60 routes. In that instance, the issue dragged on for several weeks, prompting an investigation by Ombudsman, Paul Dube.

When delivering his findings earlier this month, Dube put some of the blame on Toronto public and Catholic school boards for failing to heed the early warning signs of a driver shortage, ultimately leaving students in limbo.

“More than anything this case was about communication failures,” Dube said on August 10. “Communication with parents was practically non-existent until well into the crisis. Even though board officials were warned of potential problems in the week before school actually started.”

Click here for the Parent Letter August 28th 2017.

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