During the Spring and Summer, the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) successfully negotiated contracts with 9 of 10 bus companies serving Ottawa area schools. However, despite OSTA’s best efforts, transportation disruptions for students in the Ottawa Catholic School Board and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board could occur this fall. These disruptions relate to on-going bus driver shortages and one bus company not renewing its contract with OSTA.
We are reaching out to inform you that we were not able to successfully renew the contract for service provided to some West End schools in both Boards. This may affect your child’s transportation routes. However, these changes do not affect students who take OC Transpo in the West End. OSTA is currently collaborating with other bus operators to try and come up with viable solutions.
OSTA and Board staff worked all summer to address these labour and transportation issues. Still, it became evident this week that transportation problems similar to those endured during the pandemic could arise. We are providing this information in anticipation of possible route disruptions in your area. Detailed information will be available on OSTA’s Parent Portal on Wednesday, August 30.
Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to the driver shortage issue, and with the loss of one of the bus companies (that served 36 bus routes), those challenges are being felt across our region and throughout the province.
While OSTA has successfully secured transportation for most students in the Ottawa area, this news is challenging and frustrating for families who must now find ways to transport their children to school. We will continue to work with OSTA and the Public School Board to find alternate solutions.
As we did during the pandemic, school principals and educators will work to find creative solutions, including accessing learning materials online, where that is an option, to try and support students without other means of transportation.
The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority will send additional information in the coming days. Please visit OSTA’s website regularly for updates on student transportation.