Calgary

Calgary school bus stop changes on the way after parents raise concerns

Some Calgary parents got their wish Thursday afternoon after the governing NDP moved to shorten the maximum distance students will have to walk to catch the bus to school.

Alberta Education Minister David Eggen says he's received assurances from the Calgary Board of Education

More revisions are coming after the Calgary Board of Education replaced several regular bus stops with a handful of "congregated bus stops" to save money, angering many parents. (CBC)

Some Calgary parents got their wish Thursday afternoon after the governing NDP moved to shorten the maximum distance students will have to walk to catch the bus to school.

"The overall expansion of the pilot for the transportation system was too ambitious, so the Calgary Board of Education ended up with students with some excessive wait times and distances as well," Alberta Education Minister David Eggen told CBC News on Thursday.

Eggen said he received dozens of complaints from parents after changes meant some students would have to walk as far as 2.4 kilometres to catch a ride.

In May, the Calgary Board of Education announced plans to replace several regular bus stops with a handful of so-called "congregated bus stops" to help balance their budgets.

But Eggen said the CBE had received an additional $1 million from the province for transportation costs this year, and could also dip into its transportation reserve to put more buses into service. 

"I recognize that it takes a number of days — or even weeks — to resort a scheduling system and get sufficient buses on the ground to meet the growing needs of Calgary, but we have to start as soon as possible," he said.

Information about the new bus stops is expected to be released online Friday. 

The goal will be to bring student travel distances from home to the bus stop in alignment with CBE's 1.6- and 1.8-kilometre guidelines for elementary and junior high students, respectively.

CBE Board Chair Joy Bowen-Eyre will review the information with board members at a Sept. 15 meeting before changes are finalized.

The public board transports more than 38,000 students each day by bus.

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