Watch above: Concerns expressed by a Saskatoon mother result in school bus route changc
SASKATOON – The school year is barely underway but already one local family says it has its concerns over their son’s bus route.
The six-year-old’s drop-off is just a few feet away from his home but on the opposite side is a busy stretch of road.
“When I was told where our new stop would be I was really happy about the time and I was really happy about the location,” said Jessica Isaak, mother of two.
“That’s across from my house but I was concerned that my son would have to cross McClocklin Road which is a very busy road.”
Concerns were heightened after Isaak sent her son Jacob off for his first day of school on Tuesday.
“The afternoon was a disaster, I think the bus driver, as well as myself, almost had a heart attack with the number of vehicles going either around the bus or from this direction passing by the bus, with my son clearly visible that he needed to cross the street.”
A small change but one this family says had the potential to be devastating.
“I feel like if he has to do this all year, he will be hurt, that bothers me,” said Isaak.
An alternate route was suggested by the family’s new bus provider but Isaak said she wasn’t comfortable with the suggestion since Jacob would be out of her sight.
In order to safely cross the street, her son would need to walk close to two blocks in either direction then back.
“I have a four-year-old at home that isn’t always awake and that is not responsible for me to leave him at home, so then I guess it would require me waking him, bundling him up, walking them both down and back.”
Luckily for the family that won’t have to happen.
The bus driver on Jacob’s route for Hertz Northern Bus agreed with Issak’s safety concerns and changes were made Wednesday afternoon.
“The bus driver was very concerned that it was a busy stretch of the road and it’s all been resolved as of this afternoon, the bus has been rerouted and it will stop on the opposite curb in front of the child’s home,” said Ablina Kille, owner of Hertz Northern Bus.
First Student Canada works with 10,000 students a day and says it will make every effort to drop a child off in front of their home.
“Even if we have to go around a Crescent or block to end up on the correct side of the street where the children live so they do not have to cross the street especially if it’s a busy street, we want to avoid crossing in 99 percent of the cases,” explained Chanda Lockhart, location manager for First Student Saskatoon.
Approximately four city blocks is the furthest distance a child is required to walk back home with their age taken into consideration.
The company also has safety protocol in place regarding how children should safely exit the bus at the end of the school day.
“They will go six to 12 feet from the bus, they will freeze, the driver will count them, they will make sure they are present and accounted for, they will then close the door and proceed, once the bus proceeds ahead, the children know it’s safe to walk,” added Lockhart.
If a child has to cross the street they are to wait until they reach a safe crossing area and not jaywalk. Motorists are also reminded to obey the rules of the road and stop for school buses with flashing lights.
“The motorist should remain behind the bus until the bus has proceeded to go. They should also remain at caution cause there may be children on the sidewalk to cross the street to a friend’s house, so they should still use caution but they should definitely stop behind the bus,” said Lockhart.
Crossing arms or stop signs are no longer used by regional buses as a signal to drivers to stop since they are against a city bylaw.