Despite a highly publicized announcement that the Halifax Regional Centre for Education would be cancelling the contract they have with Stock Transportation effective September 2020, taking away the responsibility they’ve had of delivering students to HRM schools for decades, it’s possible the company could continue operating beyond that.
What’s clear is that beginning the 2020-2021 school year HRCE will take over scheduling, routing and communication duties from Stock. What’s not is who will provide the drivers, mechanics and busses.
A Request for Proposal period will take place, one which Stock says they intend to participate in, meaning it’s very possible they could continue to be used by HRCE, only in a diminished capacity.
“It’s been confusing,” said Trevor Chenier, a parent of two students in Elmsdale. “Because for some things you go here, some things you go there.”
“Everyone together is confused.”
Chenier says for years they’ve had mild, to moderate, to serious challenges with Stock and getting answers hasn’t been easy.
However, the notion of moving communication specifically to HRCE and out of Stock’s hands does little to reassure him.
And waiting until the fall of 2020, he says, is too little too late.
“They should find someone right away who can do it and will do it,” Chenier said. “I’ve lost all my faith in stock as a whole. They don’t communicate to parents.”
WATCH: N.S. government terminates contract with Stock Transportation
HRCE executive regional director Elwin Leroux said during the announcement Thursday that they strongly believe better results will be seen once some of the responsibilities are moved away from Stock and placed under their purview.
They’re also planning a revamp by developing a new provincial student transportation policy which is expected to be implemented at the same time they take on their new duties.
Leroux says it’s a way to overhaul a system that hasn’t been getting the results parents and students require.
“We don’t want to tweak our contract and tweak our way to improvement,” he explained. “We actually want to change the foundation upon which this is built.”
“What we recognize is that our contract is not serving the needs of what we see necessary in our system,” Leroux said.
In a statement, Stock Transportation said they do “share government’s view that the system under which Stock Transportation has been asked to operate has deep systemic flaws that only government can address.”
Patrick Meagher, Stock’s director of Atlantic Canada, added, “We are proud of our employee’s performance, our investments and service improvements and look forward to continuing to provide students and parents in the HRM with a safe, reliable service they can count on.”