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Edmonton mom concerned about son’s well-being on school bus

Edmonton mother raises concerns about son’s two-hour bus ride
WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton mother is frustrated with her son's school bus provider. As Sarah Kraus reports, the mother says it's taking more than two hours for him to get home from school each day, when last year it took just 20 minutes.

An Edmonton mother is speaking out after she feels her concerns about her son’s school bus experiences went unresolved.

Lori-Ann Goodyear and her 13-year-old son Keegan saw a new bus driver pull up on the first day of school.

“He looked over and he realized my son was in a wheelchair. So the bus driver got off the bus and didn’t know what to do.

“He didn’t know how to load him and didn’t know how to work the lift.”

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Goodyear was shocked but she took charge and operated the lift, showing the driver how the machine works.

“He looks and he goes, ‘What did you do? How did you do that?’ And I’m like – ‘What?'”

READ MORE: Edmonton Catholic Schools cancels routes with transport company after kids stuck on bus

“It’s very frustrating,” she said.

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But that wasn’t the only problem.

“Then he didn’t get home until 5:20 p.m. that day. Which is two hours and 20 minutes from the time he gets out of school. Last year it was 20-30 minutes tops if it was stormy.”

The Goodyears live 6.5 kilometres from Queen Elizabeth School.

The bus is operated by Southland Transportation. Goodyear said she called the company repeatedly. When she didn’t get a response, she called the school board and then Queen Elizabeth School.

“Nobody returned my calls. Nobody got back to me. So I said, ‘He’s got to go to school,’ so I’ve just been driving him.”

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For the second week of school, Goodyear noticed a new bus driver on Keegan’s route and decided to give the bus another try.

That time, Keegan didn’t get home until even later — at 5:50 p.m.

“Obviously this isn’t the way we wanted the school year to start for this student or this family and we take their concerns very seriously,” a spokesperson with the Edmonton Public School Board, Carrie Rosa, said.

“We do want our students to be on the bus for the least amount of time possible.”

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Rosa went on to say Southland has placed a new driver on the route — one that has training in operating special needs equipment.

Keegan’s bus is specifically for students in the school’s Individual Support Program.

WATCH: Hundreds of parents west of Edmonton frustrated with school bus issues

Edmonton Public said travel times have decreased on the route as well. Goodyear hopes that’s true and says she’s willing to test it out once more.

“I just want a driver that knows how to load my son safely and that he gets home at a reasonable time. I don’t think I’m asking for anything out of the ordinary.”

Global News has reached out to Southland Transportation for comment. As of publication time, we had not received a response.