Kingston area on pace for highest number of snow days in last 6 school years

Kingston on pace for highest number of school bus cancellations over past 6 years
School buses for thousands of students in the Kingston area were cancelled Wednesday after Environment Canada issued a winter weather travel advisory.

If you think the number of times you’ve had to drive your kids to and from school has been higher than usual, you’re right.

So far during the 2018-19 school year, Tri-Board Transportation Services has cancelled buses a total of 12 times, with about two months left of winter.

“We are experiencing more temperature variations and volatile weather,” Tri-Board CEO Gord Taylor said.

READ MORE: Inclement weather prompts bus cancellations throughout much of the Kingston area

Tri-Board provides school bus services for students in and around the Kingston area, where buses have been cancelled for a number of reasons: extreme cold, which causes diesel fuel to solidify, rain, freezing rain, and of course, snow.

The highest number of bus cancellations in a single year over the past six years has been 15, during the 2017-18 school year.

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Taking a look at other parts of the province, Kingston is far and away the leader in bus cancellations.

In Northern Ontario, school bus operators in Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie say they, too, are experiencing more bus cancellations than usual, but Sudbury’s nine and the Soo’s four are far less than Kingston, considering the harsher northern climate.

“Any day we make a decision we get complaints on both sides of the argument,” Taylor said.

READ MORE: Environment Canada issues freezing rain warning, buses and schools affected in Kingston area

“Some people question us for cancelling school buses, when we don’t cancel buses, we also get complaints for why didn’t cancel our buses.”

When it comes to what causes a cancellation, Taylor said the road conditions the night prior to a cancellation and the weather from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. the morning of the cancellation are often key considerations. Some cancellations, though, are due to the weather forecast later in the day, so as to not leave students stranded at school.

Taylor said at the end of the day the decisions to cancel are made based on student and driver safety. More than 600 drivers work for Tri-Board.