Kids have only been back in class for three days, but some parents in Regina are frustrated over the school busing system, saying long delays and a lack of communication left them in the dark.
On Tuesday, Kristy Achen said she walked her 7-year-old son to the bus stop, expecting it to come around 8:30 a.m. But by 9:00 a.m., the bus was no where in sight and after leaving several messages at Ecole Elsie Mironuck, Achen decided to drive him herself.
At the end of the day, the situation was no better. Achen said the bus was more than an hour late dropping her son off.
“I’ve had several parents reach out to me, experiencing the exact same thing,” Achen said. “I feel bad for the children, they’re traumatized- some of them came off the bus bawling.”
Parents do have access to a “Where’s My Bus” program that allows parents to see where their child’s bus is through GPS, but Achen said that wasn’t working either.
Last year Regina Public and Catholic schools teamed up as part of a pilot project that would see students from Ecole St. Elizabeth and Ecole Wascana Plains picked up by the same bus. This year the pilot project has extended to students at Ecole Elsie Mironuck and Ecole St. Mary.
“Most of the parents were against it. They went ahead with it anyways, now this year it seems to be a nightmare,” Achen said.
In a statement, The Regina Catholic School Divsion said:
“We are working with our transportation provider to iron out some of the first week back at school bugs and to ensure that all students are transported to and from school in a safe and timely manner. We have the safe part in place, and are working on the timely part. We appreciate parents’ patience. Parents are encouraged to use the Parent Portal and to make sure they and their children know their bus stops and schedule. Parents are encouraged to contact their school principal if there are any transportation related questions.”
According to the division, the pilot project is safer for communities, better for the environment and a savings to taxpayers. From Achen’s view, it comes down to a lack of communication.
“They had the tools to communicate to us parents to ensure that our children are coming and they did not,” she explained. “For a 7-year-old that’s gone missing where you don’t know where they are is very alarming.”
“It’s the first day, it’s the first week, I understand there’s going to be some kinks that we need to work out but an hour on a bus both ways is unacceptable.”
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