Halifax schools to get improved bus services after complaints, delays

Halifax Regional Centre for Education says changes to school bus routs may be ahead to accommodate more families. Derek Putz / Global News

The Halifax Regional Centre for Education has sent out a notice to parents it will be making an effort to improve its bus services.

The centre said it has been a challenge to navigate new school transportation policies, that went into effect Sept. 1, alongside planning for COVID-19 health regulations.

“Regardless of the size of the challenge, we do not feel the service some families have received is acceptable,” read the notice sent to parents on Friday.

Read more: Middle Sackville mother raises concerns over lack of communication about courtesy busing

The director of operations at HRCE Jacob Ritchie said in the notice that changes to routing will be made over the upcoming weekend.

According to the new policy, transportation must be provided for those in middle and secondary grades, who live more than 2.4 km from the school.

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A Middle Sackville mother told Global News last month she was disappointed with HRCE’s lack of communication regarding initial changes to courtesy bussing.

Margaret Caldwell reached out to HRCE mid-August after she found out her child has been removed from the bussing lists. She said she was told that any potential courtesy busing seats won’t be determined until after Sept. 30.

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HRCE declined an interview request at the time, but a statement from its transportation communications specialist Stephanie MacKinnon read: “HRCE will allow students to access unassigned seats, once we know we can do that. The availability of any unassigned seating will not be determined until all eligible students are routed after September 30th.”

At the time, Caldwell said she felt that needed to be communicated well before the start of the school year and was left scrambling for alternative transportation.

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It is unclear what changes will come to the school bus routing starting next week, but HRCE’s notice said it is increasing staffing.

“We want to assure families that we will continue to work with our providers daily to improve routing, ensure timely notifications and correct safety and efficiency problems as they arise,” read the notice.

It says families should monitor their emails on Sunday for notifications about potential changes to their bus routes.

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