Who makes the call to cancel school buses?

School bus operators are looking at road conditions, but the forecast is also important.

School boards are only there for operators to consult

School boards are notified by email if operators decide to cancel. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Even if there isn't a lick of snow on the ground, school bus operators may still cancel buses for the day if the forecast looks bad.

Pat Stevenson, manager of operations of G & L Stevenson Transport in Lakeshore, said there are about 21 spotters looking for road conditions.

"We're always out there, we're out early, before 5 a.m., typically looking, trying to make a decision by 6 a.m. every day," said Stevenson.

Scott Scantlebury with the Greater Essex County District School Board said the transportation consortium, which provides busing for four area school boards, will consult with school boards for cancellations — but it's "unusual for the boards to reject their recommendation."

Pat Stevenson says there are around 21 spotters looking at real-time road conditions in the morning. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

At the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, communications coordinator Stephen Fields said those decisions from operators are communicated to the boards "first thing in the morning."

WECDSB's policy is to communicate that decision to students, parents and others by 6:30 a.m. when possible.

Fields said sometimes school buses might be cancelled in the morning, but will be available for kids in the afternoon — such as on a foggy day.

On Monday, January 28, 2019, Stevenson said they decided not to run the buses because the forecast was projecting there to be up to 15 cm of snow later in the day.

So even though there wasn't any snow during early morning, they made the call to cancel.

"We're looking at real road conditions in real time, but at the same time, we're looking at forecast, what are we expected to get."

With files from Sanjay Maru and Flora Pan


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?