Hamilton

New consolidated school bus routes in Hamilton to start Wednesday

Hamilton school buses will start consolidated routes on Wednesday in an effort to try and improve an unprecedented local bus driver shortage, but delays will persist.

New school bus routes will help curb driver shortage but delays will persist

Hamilton school buses will run new, consolidated routes starting Wednesday to reduce the number of drivers needed — but delays will persist. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Hamilton school buses will start consolidated routes on Wednesday in an effort to try and improve an unprecedented local bus driver shortage, but delays will persist.

That means bus pick up and drop off times may have changed and that families should to check the Hamilton-Wentworth Student Transportation Services website to updated stop times.

Stacey Zucker, the associate director of support services, said during a Monday meeting with the public school board trustees, that the planning took place over the weekend.

"Once we have a better understanding of who's takng the bus and we actually have the ridership, we may be able to consolidate further. We know the first opt-in/out day is Oct. 13 so we'll work with that date to possibly bring about more changes."

Before March break, Hamilton was already 30 drivers short. The COVID-19 pandemic made it worse, with 56 drivers indicating a COVID-19 related reason for not returning to drive buses.

The boards added more incentives to attract drivers, but are still missing 59 drivers for mornings and 67 for afternoons.

Zucker said they are still trying to add incentives.

Shawn McKillop, a spokesperson for the public board, added there will still be runs that do not have permanent drivers and therefore, will continue to be late buses.  Information about late buses is also on the HWSTS webs site. On Monday, at least 67 routes had delays, many of them for an hour or longer. 

"The board continues to work with the bus operators to find solutions to the driver shortage issue," he said.

"Taxi companies are also experiencing a shortage in taxis and drivers. HWSTS is reviewing possible solutions and will be communicating with the families that are affected."


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