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Halifax school bus operators felt unsafe for morning commute, pulled drivers

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Watch: Some parents and students in Halifax felt anxious and frustrated Monday morning after the Halifax Regional Centre for Education announced school was on, and only later shared that school buses wouldn't be running. The information -- relayed much later than normal -- left many waiting and wondering. Amber Fryday reports – Apr 4, 2022

The Halifax Regional Centre for Education says one hour after announcing schools would be open on Monday, it heard from its bus operators that drivers felt unsafe to be on the roads and wouldn’t be transporting students.

Initially, the early morning decision to keep schools open despite a snowfall warning being issued lead to much outcry on social media.

The reasoning for remaining open, HRCE announced at about 6 a.m., was that it said the forecast showed snow accumulation of less than five centimetres by 4 p.m. and temperature above freezing.

It also noted “busses are running” in the 6 a.m. post.

Read more: Bring those shovels back out: Heavy snowfall headed for Nova Scotia

However, nearly two hours later, HRCE announced on social media that buses would not be running, in fact.

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“Transportation service providers have informed us they are NOT running today,” the tweet read.

“We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience.”

Some parents expressed concern and frustration on social media about the decision to open regardless.

Parent Elizabeth MacDonald said her 11-year-old son waited alone at the bus stop for 20 minutes before she was informed the bus wasn’t coming.

“I was disappointed and I panicked a little thinking about the what-ifs. You know, my mind automatically went there,” MacDonald said.

Her son doesn’t have a house key or cell phone, but luckily she and her husband work from home.

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“This was a big mistake. I imagine there will be stories much worse than ours.”

In a Monday afternoon email to Global News, the HRCE said the centre was only told around 7 a.m. that bus providers no longer felt confident that they could safely operate the busses.

“This was incredibly short notice to families and we apologize for the inconvenience this caused,” read the email.

Read more: 3 companies awarded contracts to provide Halifax school bus service

Environment Canada said Sunday a low-pressure system will pass south of the province, bringing 15 to 20 cm of “widespread” snowfall.

Halifax Regional Municipality noted residents can expect gusty winds of up to 50 km/h to 70 km/h, in addition to the snow.

Early Monday, Halifax Transit announces several of its routes will be placed on the snow plan.

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