Thunder Bay

Student Transportation Services launches new bus delay and cancellation app to improve communication

Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay (STSTB) has launched a new notification service through a free mobile app, aiming to up their communication with students and families in the city.

Notification system to help with inclement weather cancellations and school bus delays due to driver shortage

The app, Bus Status, will provide its users with real-time notifications whenever buses administered by STSTB are cancelled or are delayed by 15 minutes or more. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay (STSTB) has launched a new notification service through a free mobile app, aiming to up their communication with students and families in the city.

The app, Bus Status, will provide its users with real-time notifications whenever buses administered by STSTB are cancelled or are delayed by 15 minutes or more.

"So typically in the past, we needed parents to actually physically go to our website to check if the bus was delayed and we understand that mornings in particular are very busy for most families…so it's not always in the timeline to check to see if their buses running," explained Craig Murphy, STSTB consortium manager.

Murphy said the STSTB has been looking for ways to better streamline information to parents and students for years, and have tested different social media accounts as a new way of reaching families.

However, a high number of route cancellations caused by an exacerbated bus driver shortage amidst the pandemic has made the issue of more widely accessible information more pressing.

"Because of the driver shortage, it certainly made it a bit more clear to us that we needed to find something. So, we found this software, Bus Status. It's a Canadian company and they have been in use for a number of years in other districts," said Murphy.

The STSTB launched the app to its service area Friday, giving families time to download it before in-person school began again on Monday in northern Ontario.

The bus status app can be downloaded on Android and Apple devices and can be utilized by students of Lakehead District School Board, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board and Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique des Aurores Boréales.

Users of the app have the option to subscribe to morning and afternoon bus routes to receive updates.

For step-by-step directions on how to use the Bus Status app visit the STSTB website. Bus delay and weather cancellation information will also continue to be posted on the STSTB website. 

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