About 3,500 students on the northeast Avalon will be forced to find alternative transportation Thursday, after Newfoundland and Labrador's English School District suspended the operations of a large busing contractor.
Citing safety concerns, the NLESD has suspended the operations of Kelloway Investments, which services a number routes at 22 schools in the St. John's area.
All regular routes at Cape St. Francis Elementary, Holy Trinity Elementary, Macdonald Drive Elementary, Holy Trinity High School, Rennies River Elementary, St Francis of Assisi and St. John Bosco are affected.
The company's alternate transportation services at several schools have also been suspended.
Terry Hall, assistant director for education at the NLESD, said Wednesday night the district was left with no choice but to take action.
Hall said there were a number of growing issues with the contractor.
He said some of the contractor's buses had failed inspections, and Kelloway was not properly warning the district of numerous delays — which meant students were sometimes left out in the cold, not knowing their bus was late.
He noted the suspension would be a disruption to thousands of families, but the district had to "make a decision based on student safety, first and foremost."
"At this time, it wasn't worth the risk for us to wait to see tomorrow morning if there was going to be children stranded on the side of the road," he said.
All of Kelloway Investments's contracts with the district have been suspended. A representative from the company declined an interview Wednesday night.
A contingency plan to provide alternative transportation to students will begin on Jan. 23.
"It does take a couple of days to get other busing in place, and reach out to find the assets and help from other contractors to be able to fill the void," Hall added.
The district says all affected families are being contacted.
A full list of affected bus routes is below.
- Brother Rice Junior High: 16-052-1A
- Cape St. Francis Elementary: All routes
- Gonzaga High School: 16-068-1B; 16-068-2B; 16-068-3; 16-068-4; 16-068-5; 16-068-6; 16-068-7B; and 16-068-8B
- Holy Trinity Elementary: All routes
- Holy Trinity High School: All routes
- Macdonald Drive Elementary: All routes
- Macdonald Drive Junior High: 16-069-1A; 16-069-2A; 16-069-3A; 16-069-4A; 16-069-5A; and 16-069-6A
- Newtown Elementary: 16-066-3; 16-066-4; and 16-066-5
- O'Donel High School: 16-066-1A
- Rennies River Elementary: All routes
- St. Francis of Assisi: All routes
- St. John Bosco: All routes
- St. Peter's Primary: 15-066-1B; and 16-066-2
- St. Theresa's School: 16-052-1B; and 16-052-2
Alternate transportation services
Beachy Cove Elementary
Bishop Abraham Elementary
Bishop Field Elementary
Brother Rice Junior High
Holy Family Elementary
Holy Heart High School
Leary's Brook Junior High
Macdonald Drive Junior High
O'Donel High School
Rennies River Elementary
St. Andrew's Elementary
St. Peter's Primary
St. Teresa's School