Sask Rivers Transportation report shows weather and other challenges

(Herald file photo)

The Saskatchewan Rivers School Division’s transportation accountability report shows bus route cancelations increased significantly in 2022, as did the number of students riding the bus.

The Sask. Rivers board got a look at the report during their special meeting on Wednesday. It shows 739.5 routes cancelled from January 2021 to January 2022. That’s an increase over the 470 cancellations the year before.

Illnesses among bus drivers and mechanics, along with bad weather were the primary reasons for the cancellations.

When bus routes are cancelled before school, it impacts that school attendance. If that happens lots it can be tough on schools and kids and families,” Sask. Rivers education director Robert Bratvold said.

Weather was the biggest cause of cancellations with 685.5 days. There were also 25.5 days cancelled a substitute driver was not available. with 12 of those COVID-19 related. There were also 16.5 days cancelled due to mechanical issues.

It has been really tough on drivers and students and families with the numbers of cancellations, and schools too,” Bratvold said. “When you have a rural school where roads are impassable by the busses, sometimes parents are able to get their kids to school and often they will do that it’s just the bus is a little (easier),” Bratvold said.

This was the first report since the board requested more depth and greater detail. 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 a broader report because of a board request.

We always evolve our reports based on board need,” Bratvold said. “The board had asked for a little bit more detail and that would break down more. That is what Jerald provided from the Transportation Department, so there’s a liitle more depth there in terms of the breakdown of the cancellations.”

The report featured data up to Jan. 31, 2022. The number of students transported has increased from the previous report in 2021. In 2022 there were 3,368 students transported compared to 3,210 in 2021.

The average urban one-way bus ride is 14 minutes while the average rural bus ride one way is 27 minutes. The longest urban one-way bus ride is 50 minutes and the longest rural one-way bus ride is 95 minutes.

There was one reported complaints of a serious nature which was dealt with.

Saskatchewan Rivers monthly meeting was originally scheduled for Feb.7 but was cancelled due to the city wide power outage, this meeting was to deal with time sensitive matters, another meeting to complete the agenda is scheduled for Feb. 28.