Some Halifax-area parents describe school-bus nightmares
Published Wednesday, September 5, 2018 3:35PM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 5, 2018 10:37PM ADT
Students in the Halifax area were off to their first day of school Wednesday, but many parents faced busing nightmares.
It was a long road to get to the bus stop for Anastasia Tsagaris and her kids Athena and Alexandra.
“You're supposed to pick them up here as a courtesy stop,” Tsagaris said.
They aren't sure if they will have a bus stop next week and Tsagaris says she's been calling Stock Transportation since June.
“I’ve been getting ‘I’ll call you back,’ ‘I’ll pass that along,’ ‘What's your name and number?’ and ‘We'll see what we can do.’ I don't work on that,” said Tsagaris.
The kids are within what Stock calls walking distance from their school.
But Tsagaris says this route isn't safe for her nine- and five-year-old daughters.
“Yes, I am in walking distance,” Tsagarissaid. “They're not walking on that.”
Some students do walk on the shoulder of this busy road.
That's what Christina Atton's 10-year-old son might have to do.
She found out two days ago that her bus stop was removed from the route.
“It’s traffic non-stop,” Atton said. “Cars parked on both sides. There's no sidewalk for him to walk on. 2.51 kilometers is a lot in the rain or snow or plows going by. It's ridiculous.”
Atton and Tsagaris had to apply for courtesy busing.
The closing date for applications was Aug. 3 and both parents say they applied well before that.
But reps from stock say some parents did leave it to the last minute.
“I've personally taken calls today from many parents coming forward now, asking to fill out applications,” said Crystal Truax, Stock Transportation’s regional manager for Atlantic Canada.“We have been receiving applications daily and, simply, we cannot continue up until (Tuesday) to change routes, because it would affect everybody else.”
Stock says late applications can account for some of the confusion.
They also instituted a new online scheduling system, causing issues for parents and staff.
“Our system crashed twice (Tuesday),” Truax said. “We had over six thousand calls.”
But Tsagaris says that won't stop her.
“They're going to hear me every day,” she said. “I'm going to call them every day. I'm going to annoy them every day, to get this stop here.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.