NPSSTS Update 2022

Bus Cancellations and Delays Update from NPSSTS
Posted on 09/14/2022
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The NPSSTS is experiencing a phenomenon like many other consortia in the Province; the issue of school bus driver shortages.  Bus drivers are employed by the fourteen different school bus companies under contract with the NPSSTS.  All of these companies, to varying degrees, have and will experience driver shortage issues for a variety of reasons. In the latter half of the 2021-22 school year, many cancellations and delays were as a result of the pandemic. Cancellations due to the pandemic is still an issue but to a lesser degree.

The NPSSTS stayed in close contact with the transportation companies throughout the summer months; reports at that time indicated a positive outlook to driver staffing levels.  However, one company did see a number of potential drivers leave in August, many to take on other employment opportunities.  The recruitment, training, licencing and other requirements that need to be fulfilled before a driver can take on a route can take several weeks.  These efforts are ongoing and we are confident that relief is on the horizon.  That being said, the pool of spare drivers has dwindled.  Bus companies are constantly recruiting new drivers to fill vacancies.

To put things into perspective, the NPSSTS have had no more than six cancellations on any one day out a total of the 406 routes that we are responsible for.  Route doubling, the use of one bus to cover two routes, is being used to mitigate the driver shortage situation.  This may lead to delays but is preferable to cancelling a bus route all together.  Unfortunately, this strategy does have its limits and cancellations will occur.

We understand that some parents are car-pooling as a strategy to deal with the situation.  Contingency plans, like this, should be developed by parents and guardians as bus delay and cancellation issues can arise at any time in our districts.