School bus changes upset Whitehorse parents

Some parents in the Whitehorse area are upset with changes to school bus service in the city. Among other things, they say some students are spending an hour a day on buses that aren't moving.

'I don't think this is helping their education spending three hours on the bus a day,' one mom says

School bus changes upset Whitehorse parents 1:53

Some parents in the Whitehorse area are upset with changes to city's school bus service.

Among other things, they say some students are spending an hour a day on buses that aren't moving.

Parents in Whitehorse are concerned about the safety of this 'transfer station' where school buses use a turn-off on the Alaska Highway to trade passengers on their way to school. (Philippe Morin/CBC)
A Facebook group called "Concerns with Whitehorse school buses" has more than 100 members.

One concern is about the safety of a "transfer station" on the Alaska Highway by the North Klondike Highway.

Yukon's Department of Education has been using the turnoff to transfer students from one bus to another.

“It’s not a well-monitored stop,” says Sharon Ulrich, a parent who lives on the Old Alaska Highway. “You’re going to have truckers in there, you’re going to have the public in there, and I think it’s just a really dangerous place to be having kids transfer.”

Ulrich says she’s also worried about how long kids have to wait there to switch buses.

“I have heard that one bus has to be there for as long as half an hour.”

Ann-Marie Stockley lives on Mayo Road and has three children who go to Holy Family and Porter Creek High. She says the transfer station is annoying.

“It’s probably a 20-minute normal drive, but it takes my kids more than an hour to get to school on the school bus.”

Sharon Ulrich is not pleased with the new school bus transfer station: 'I think it’s just a really dangerous place to be having kids transfer.' (Philippe Morin/CBC)
Marlene Jennings is another parent who lives on Mayo Road. She says a one-way trip to school now takes her kids 90 minutes.

"I don't think this is helping their education spending three hours on the bus a day.”

Parents have also raised concerns about drivers missing stops, children being dropped off at the wrong places, and an online registration program that they say isn't reliable.

Education Minister Elaine Taylor agrees there are problems.

“What we thought was to be resolved some months ago, clearly we are not quite there yet,” she says, “so certainly we are working expeditiously to address these issues.”

Taylor says more than 500 registrations were processed last week through the government's computerized system. As a result routes and schedules will change. 

Yukon’s Department of Education is holding a public meeting on the issue tomorrow at 7 o'clock at Hidden Valley school.

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