Busing concerns in HRM continue as school year enters 2nd week

Click to play video: 'HRCE flooded with busing concerns'
HRCE flooded with busing concerns
WATCH: It seems the unpredictability of how classrooms will operate this year isn't the only thing heavy on the minds of parents these days. Dozens of school buses have been showing up late, or not at all. And as Graeme Benjamin reports, it’s having a big impact on a daycare along the Eastern Shore – Sep 14, 2020

More parents are raising concerns about school bus service in the Halifax Regional Municipality, saying buses are showing up late or not at all.

According to the Halifax Regional Centre for Education’s (HRCE) website, dozens of buses have shown up late since school started on Sept. 8. Some were listed as an hour late.

As a result, HRCE sent out a notice to parents and guardians that it’s taking steps to improve service.

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

READ MORE: Halifax schools to get improved bus services after complaints, delays

But that’s not enough for people like Julia Cameron in West Porters Lake. She owns a private daycare business and is responsible for getting students on and off the bus before and after classes.

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Last year, Cameron successfully advocated for Stock Transportation to get a school bus stop right outside of the daycare on Old Mineville Road, instead of the busier West Porters Lake Road.

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But on Aug. 25, she found out that the stop had been changed.

“It really left us scrambling at the daycare in terms of how we were going to get the children to and from West Porters Lake Road,” said Cameron.

Click to play video: 'Students want their voices heard in return-to-school plan'
Students want their voices heard in return-to-school plan

It’s a concerning situation for Cameron, who says the road isn’t safe – especially in the winter.

“We live in a community with very, very unpredictable weather and very unpredictable road conditions,” said Cameron.

“If there are 100, 150 secondary roads along the Eastern Shore, is the bus company going to pull all of the buses off all of those secondary roads because of that off-chance when the weather is really poor?”

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Cameron also notes speed and negligence have always been issues in the area.

“I’ve observed three vehicles go right through the flashing red lights when the school bus was stopped,” said Cameron. “Our children have to cross West Porters Lake Road and wait in an area that is not lit, so it’s not only dark but it’s dangerous.”

READ MORE: Middle Sackville mother raises concerns over lack of communication about courtesy busing

In a statement to Global News, HRCE spokesperson Stephanie MacKinnon said bus routes are reviewed by drivers and routes are adjusted before schools start.

“The safety of the bus stop on Old Mineville Rd was a concern upon review and was removed from routing before school started this year,” she said. “Any changes in routing adjustments were sent out via email to families.”

But Cameron says both she and parents have written and phoned Student Transportation of Canada, as well as received support from their local MLA, but have not received a response.

“We’re trying to make due, parents have been helping, but it’s absolutely not a solution.”

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