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“Relief on the horizon” with school bus driver shortages

Driver shortages are having an impact on Nipissing Parry Sound Student Transportation Services (NPSSTS).

The consortium says there are 14 school bus companies and all have dealt with and will deal with driver shortages, to varying degrees.

While cancellations due to the pandemic are still an issue, although to a lesser degree than last year, officials say one bus company saw a number of potential drivers leave for other employment opportunities in August.

NPSSTS says bus companies are constantly recruiting new drivers to fill vacancies.

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“The recruitment, training, licencing and other requirements that need to be fulfilled before a driver can take on a route can take several weeks,” states a release. “These efforts are ongoing and we are confident that relief is on the horizon. That being said, the pool of spare drivers has dwindled.”

The consortium also says they’ve had no more than six cancellations on any one day, out of a total of the 406 routes that they’re responsible for.

Route doubling is being used and may lead to delays, but officials say the strategy has its limits and cancellations will occur.

They also say contingency plans, like parents car-pooling, should be developed as bus delay and cancellation issues can arise at any time.

***With files from Richard Coffin

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