Transportation woes continue for the Seine River School Division as they look to get more bus drivers. 

According to their website, they are looking to hire another seven bus drivers as well as a few more substitute drivers. 

“I think our division isn't any different than others,” says Superintendent Ryan Anderson. “We do have a shortage of drivers. So, when you look at current vacancies in our school division, we are looking for far more bus drivers than we are school-based staff, for example.” 

He believes there are a few factors that contribute to this situation. 

“I think the MPI strike is one factor to look at because we're not able to certify new drivers,” Anderson explains. “So, when you have a shortage of drivers and a really short substitute list, that puts us in a situation where sometimes, well, we can't add new runs and sometimes we're faced with canceling runs on any given day based on availability, and that turns into longer bus ride times or double runs. And that affects transportation times to get kids to school.” 

Fall of 2021 was a lot more challenging regarding a bus driver shortage in Seine River and the division responded by offering free training and testing for bus drivers, which proved to be successful. The 2022 school year started with enough regular bus drivers. Even if the school division would choose to go this route to once again boost their driver numbers, Anderson says the MPI strike would hinder that effort. 

He notes they are getting creative as they look for solutions. 

“We're working on things,” Anderson says. “We've incentivized our current drivers to bring forward referrals of certified drivers who may be able to help us and join our team and my secretary treasurer informs me that we're liaising with the People Transportation Unit, or PTU, to figure out some longer-term strategies in the event that the strike continues. So, we're trying to be proactive in our approach to addressing some of those shortages to ensure that we have proper transportation for all of our students who need to get to school.”

Parents and caregivers can log onto the school division website for updated information regarding changes to bus routes, but Anderson adds their transportation department is also working directly with some families who are negatively impacted by some of the changes. 

“We've got a good team over there and they're doing their best to liaise with families on an individual basis to meet their needs. So, they're making adjustments to runs to try to accommodate the best they can. Every year, it seems like there's a different set of things that are a challenge for transportation in rural school divisions. But, by and large, I think that our team's been doing everything it can to make that as positive an experience as possible for our families.” 


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