Ottawa's school bus authority says it won't make any large-scale changes to its routes for the rest of this week, but warns that disruptions from its severe driver shortage will continue for weeks, if not months.
The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority says that as of Monday, 39 routes had been cancelled because of a severe driver shortage. The shortage was made even worse Monday morning, when a driver suddenly quit.
More OSTA routes were cancelled this morning due to an unexpected driver resignation - please check OSTA's website before heading to your bus stop this morning.— Ottawa Catholic School Board (@OttCatholicSB) September 14, 2020
OSTA said it expects the routes currently cancelled will remain so until either more drivers return to work or new drivers can be hired and trained -- a process which could take several weeks or months.
As it stabilizes the system, a statement from OSTA said that no significant route changes would be rolled out, this week, but says it is looking at some changes for next week.
"We will be evaluating opportunities for changes to be implemented next week on yellow bus which could include: moving more grade 7-12 students to OC Transpo, combining runs with low ridership into one run, adding students from cancelled routes to existing routes, congregated stops, and so on," the authority said in a statement posted on its website. OSTA says the changes would need to be confirmed by the drivers affected, and admitted that it was possible that many drivers would not agree to increased numbers of students on their route, or to take on new routes.
Meanwhile, Tuesday was the first day of classes for some students at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board's elementary schools in Group 2.
Upper Canada District School Board elementary students with last names starting with Q-Z also return to class, Tuesday, along with UCDSB students in grades 11 and 12.