Kids stranded for hours by Tour of Alberta traffic
School board says six students were affected
An Edmonton father is angry after his eight-year-old daughter was stuck on a school bus for hours without any warning for parents Tuesday evening.
"Things need to change," said Arthur Sproul. "They need to let us know when these things are happening. And somebody really dropped the ball when it comes to planning this."
Sproul says it usually takes about an hour for his daughter, Faedra, to ride the bus from Garneau school to the family’s home downtown.
But Tuesday evening, with roads closed all over downtown and heavy traffic due to the Tour of Alberta cycling race, Faedra’s bus didn’t reach its stop on time.
Sproul, who was waiting at the stop with another parent, began to get worried after an hour passed and questions to the school went unanswered.
"It’s kind of disturbing. Because they’re the ones who are charged with taking care of our children and we really need to be in contact," he said.
The bus did eventually make it to the stop, after spending nearly three extra hours stuck in traffic.
"I was stuck on this bus. It was because of that bike race thing," said Faedra.
"It was annoying because I had to pee and my leg hurt and I was hungry and stuff."
Sproul says the school board should have been aware that roads would be closed for the cycling race and should have planned for an alternate place to drop off the kids.
He’s also worried that there was no water or supplies on the bus in case of unexpected delays.
"It was 25-plus degrees out this afternoon. They've got no water. They've got no food on that bus," he said. "These kids are coming up on dinner time. They've had no food since lunch. It's really unacceptable."
Above all, Sproul says the school should have let the parents know of the problem far sooner.
Jane Sterling, spokeswoman for the Edmonton Public School Board says a problem in the bus carrier's computers was partially to blame.
Sterling says the carrier's system went down, making it impossible to find parents' contact information and warn them about the delay.
"Once they got those numbers, the carrier did call the parents to tell them where the bus was," she said.
Sterling says the school board is meeting with the carrier to talk about what happened - part of that will be to suggest keeping a paper copy of parent phone numbers in case of a computer problem.
"We apologize for what happened," she said." "Although unfortunate, the children were safe."
- An earlier version of the story said that the children went to Grandin school. This was based on miscommunication during an interview - the bus was actually from Garneau school. The story has been changed to reflect that fact.Sep 04, 2013 10:46 AM MT