Uncertainty over busing vexes Halifax-area parents
Published Tuesday, September 4, 2018 9:13PM ADT
Getting to school on the first day can be tricky and stressful, especially for little ones who've never done it before.
That’s why some Halifax parents who say the uncertainty around how their kids are going to get there has made them more anxious.
One parent says finding out if her four-year old daughter will have a bus for her first day of school tomorrow has been an exercise in frustration.
April Savoury says she applied more than a week ago for a courtesy bus, because she lives just out of the area of automatic eligibility.
After constantly checking the new bus planner website, she still doesn't have all the info she needs.
“She has a bus coming home from school, but not a bus coming to school, and it's way down the road,” said Savoury.
She’s not alone. For the past week, many Halifax-area parents have been frustrated saying they weren’t hearing anything back from school administration or the busing company about whether their children are guaranteed seats on the bus.
“I feel like this all should have been handled long before now,” said Savoury. “It should have been organized and ready to go back before August even.”
Many parents have shared similar concerns on social media.
It's all because this year Stock Transportation and the Halifax Regional Centre for Education are putting a new busing system in place -- including new procedures for parents.
“It's a new process in terms of asking people to register,” said Doug Hadley, spokesman for the Halifax Regional Centre for Education.“We’re working through that ourselves, and learning a lot more as we go. And we do apologize for the inconvenience it might be causing.”
A week ago, stock transportation told CTV News the routes would be finalized by Sunday. Then in a tweet on Friday, Stock Transportation said all approved students would be routed by end of day yesterday. Parents say this should have been worked out much sooner.
“Over the course of this weekend we jumped in with HRCE to partner with them, to get this pushed out,” said Crystal Truax, Stock’s Regional Manager for Eastern Canada.“It's not an ideal timing, but simply based on the volume that we've received, we were just not prepared for that type of volume in courtesy applications.”
Truax says there were 3,700 applications - out of the total 24,000 students that Stock takes to school in the Halifax area.
Murray Douglas, who requested a courtesy bus for his son, just learned Tuesday afternoon he was accepted. He says the experience has left him feeling angry.
Both Stock and the Halifax Regional Centre for Education acknowledge this hasn't been perfect - and there may be more bumps along the way as the new system gets rolling.
They say any parent still feeling unsure should reach out.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.