Stock Transportation losing charter licence after N.S. Utility and Review Board ruling
Nova Scotia's largest school bus operator is losing its charter licence after the province's Utility and Review Board ruled it failed to operate within the law and then misled them.
In a scathing 186-page decision, the board finds "Stock acted contrary to the act, rules, regulations, its licences, and orders; even drivers' safety regulations. It was cavalier about these."
The ruling outlines eight breaches of the law and licences, mostly related to the company's charter buses. In one instance, Stock leased a charter bus to a private school, even though the company had been told its licence didn't allow for that.
The UARB also outlines a case when Stock "demanded its drivers drive the (charter) after they exceeded their permitted hours of being on duty" and "requested its drivers falsify their daily log."
In a statement to CTV News, Stock Transportation says they are “fully co-operating with the UARB” and the findings are “of great concern.”
“We have already taken steps to address some of the issues identified in the report and will continue to work with the UARB to address every issue,” said Stock’s chief operating officer Terri Lowe in the statement.
"For several months, we have had a new senior leadership team in place in Nova Scotia. We are fully and appropriately licensed to operate in Nova Scotia. Safety remains our top priority and we will not tolerate employees who act in contrary to that.”
Stock is the school bus provider for the CSAP, Halifax Regional School Board, and some schools in Kings County. The Halifax school board chair says the decision is concerning, but not enough to change providers.
“If there were issues with student transportation, the UARB would have pulled the licence. If Halifax Regional School Board had concerns about student safety, we would have dealt with the issue. We would be moving on,” Gin Yee says.
The board is meeting with Stock Transportation in January and this will be on the agenda. While Gin Yee says changing bus companies in the middle of the school year would be a "logistical nightmare," he says that's not a factor.
“If there's a safety concern I'm confident the board members and our staff would deal with it," he says.
The decision says the UARB was "conflicted" about allowing Stock to keep its school bus licencing. The company has been asked to present recommendations to the UARB this month about improving its school service.
The CSAP says it does not have any concerns with its contract with the company, which expires in June of this year. The Halifax Regional School Board is in year two of a 10-year contract with Stock.
CTV News requested interviews with the Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Education. The province "respectfully declined."
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Ritchie.