The board of the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division received their final Transportation Accountability Report for the school year at their regular meeting on Monday. There was a decline in students transported in the division over the span of the year, according to the report.
“We have an increasing number of families who are finding their own ways to school, particularly in the city but sometimes elsewhere too so that numbers were down a little bit. We hope that they will be back up by the fall when things return to a more usual kind of school environment,” director of education Robert Bratvold said.
The total students transported in the division was 3,210 in the five months ending June 16. In the year ended March, 2020 there were 3,879 students transported.
The average urban one-way ride in the division is 14 minutes and has been consistent through all three quarters reported. The average rural one-way bus ride is 26 minutes and was also consistent.
During the meeting trustee Jaime Smith-Windsor discussed how the 14 minute ride could be seen as a way to encourage active living by students.
“We have done some work in the past around encouraging active living and walking or biking to school and those sorts of things so there is always opportunity to do more a little bit more communication and encouragement for our families and even neighbourhoods to arrange that kind of thing. It really is a positive thing all around our students can walk to school together, they can be active and healthy and not rely on sedentary transportation,” Bratvold said.
The division reported 444.5 cancellation days in the five months ending June 16. The reason for most cancellations was weather which accounted for 437 days. The average capacity utilized on buses in those months was 49 per cent.
The report also included longest rides in both urban and rural.
The longest one-way bus ride in rural rose to 95 minutes after being consistently 90 minutes in previous reporting periods. The report indicated that road construction caused detours and delays on routes that included Buckland Road, Highway 2 to Christopher Lake, Russ Stan Road in East Central and Highway 788 near Spruce Home. The longest one-way bus ride in urban was consistent at 48 minutes through 2021.
The average age of buses in the fleet have decreased from 8.25 in the report ending March, 2020 to eight in the reports for 2021.