Sask Rivers Transportation Report sees fewer students transported

(Herald file photo)

The Saskatchewan Rivers School Division board of education received their Transportation Accountability Report at their regular meeting on Monday.  This was the first report since the board decided to receive the reports twice a year instead of quarterly.

Each division in Saskatchewan receives this report from the Ministry of Education four times a year to see how the division’s buses, drivers and mechanics are doing.

The oral report was given by Chief Financial Officer Jerry Pidborochynski and outlined some challenges related to the number of students transported related to COVID-19 and the institution of the Distance Learning Centre (DLC).

“We are seeing a reduced number of students transported as COVID related. Some are in the DLC and some are not in our community anymore and so sort of connected to that,” Bratvold said.

The report featured data to Jan. 31, 2021. The number of students transported has declined from the previous report in 2020. In 2020 there were 3,879 students transported compared to 3,210 in 2021.

The number of cancellations in the division for the time period was 475, which was an increase over the 202 in the same period in 2020. Weather was the biggest cause of cancellations with 452.5 days cancellations caused. There were also 14 days because of no substitute driver and under four days caused by mechanical issues.

Bratvold explained that the most recent cold snap was not captured in this report but would be captured in the next report.

“We had some cold days and then we had some snow and then it was freezing rain. So our actual cancelations because of weather is up somewhat compared to last year but not alarmingly so,” Bratvold said.

In the previous report, there was an emerging issue of hiring more bus drivers. The concern, the report said, has mostly been resolved through the hiring of substitutes.

The average urban one-way bus ride is 14 minutes while the average rural bus ride one way is 25 minutes. The longest urban one-way bus ride is 48 minutes and the longest rural one-way bus ride is 90 minutes.

There were no reported complaints of a serious nature.