Back to School Transportation Update – Parent Portal Opening Delayed

Last Updated on: 26th August 2022, 08:40 am

Start-up Status

OSTA and its Operators have been working diligently over the spring and summer to ensure as many students as possible have access to transportation services as of September 6, 2022. Our combined recruitment efforts have resulted in many new drivers being hired and service expected to be provided to 96.35% of students on the first day of school; however, operators still need additional drivers to cover all routes.

To this end, routes must be redesigned to provide service to affected students. Providing accurate information to students and families is of paramount importance. Therefore, the parent portal will open on Monday, August 29, 2022, to ensure the latest information is available.

Service Disruptions

Last September, transportation services were disrupted for 12,000 students. Far fewer students will be affected during this year’s start-up, and we continue to work toward addressing these disruptions:

  • 107 cancelled runs to date
  • 2422 students affected
  • 27 drivers needed

We recognize this is still a challenge for many families, and we are working tirelessly on finding temporary and long-term solutions for the families facing service disruptions. OSTA has planned for full loads and will readjust once school has started and loads are balanced.

For routes impacted by service disruptions, we are working with our operators to reinstate routes by:

  • Moving runs with low ridership into one run
  • Moving students from cancelled routes to existing routes
  • Adding congregated stops
  • Building in delays in arrivals or departures
  • Using alternate modes like vans or public transit

We encourage parents and guardians to sign up for email notifications or follow up on Twitter and Facebook to receive the latest information.

If parents need to find their own means of transportation to school, it is recommended that active transportation is used to get to school as much as possible. Please see OSTA’s resources designed to help students who will be walking, rolling or being driven.

Opting-Out of Transportation

If eligible students and their parents choose not to use OSTA’s transportation services, we ask that you update your intentions as soon as possible. Eligible students may opt back into the service at any time.

DriveYellow.ca Campaign

The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) and a core group of operators have joined forces and formed a Driver Recruitment Task Force to work on solutions to address the school bus driver shortage and prepare for the upcoming school year.

This past spring, OSTA and its Operators launched a multipronged driver recruitment campaign to attract people interested in work-life balance, who love kids and want to contribute to their community in a meaningful way to apply as a School Bus Driver.

Since April, the DriveYellow.ca campaign has generated:

  • 7,610,803 impressions over multiple digital and traditional channels
  • 2,247 application engagements
  • 163 applications completed
  • 35 drivers hired or in training (26 Yellow Bus Drivers and 9 Van Drivers)

Becoming a Yellow School Bus Driver is not an overnight process; drivers must be vetted, trained, and licensed in a process that can take up to four weeks. Hiring is ongoing and will continue throughout the school year to ensure there is a minimal service disruption.

OSTA and its Operators welcome and thank all new and returning drivers to the road this school year. We recognize your work is invaluable and appreciate your dedication to student education.

For more information on becoming a School Bus Driver, please visit DriveYellow.ca.

Our priority

OSTA aims to continue to deliver safe, efficient, and effective multi-modal transportation solutions for students, especially during these unprecedented times. We will continue to work with our Operators to stabilize transportation services in prioritized communities. We thank everyone for your continued patience and look forward to delivering service to the thousands of students at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) this year.