Cancelling School Buses – A Lesson in Predicting the Weather

Last Updated on: 22nd June 2016, 01:26 pm

OSTA management reviews weather reports from the Weather Network every four hours, even in the middle of the night. These weather reports include information like (among other indicators):

  • Type of expected precipitation – snow, flurries, rain, freezing rain
  • Length of time precipitation is expected to last – per hour prediction
  • Amount of expected precipitation – per centimetre
  • Air temperature and dew point
  • Wind speeds – wind gusts

When poor weather conditions are expected, staff look at the 4am report to evaluate whether or not the latest report warrants cancelling buses. Calls are made to other consortia and transportation partners to get their input on conditions. By 5:30 am, the decision is made whether or not to cancel transportation and this is communicated through OSTA’s website and Twitter, as well as OCDSB and OCSB websites and email notification. According to the reports and other sources of information available at 4am on Wednesday February 27, the snowfall and other weather indicators demonstrated gradually increasing snow flurries beginning at lunchtime with a maximum of 9cm cted by late afternoon. At 5:30 am, this did not warrant cancelling buses.

As many weather experts have commented since yesterday, the precipitation Ottawa was subjected to yesterday was far more severe than expected and even record-breaking. There were no weather warnings issued until it became apparent that the snowfall was causing difficult driving conditions in early afternoon and the City of Ottawa deployed emergency measures to deal with the gridlock. We live in a region where weather is not always predictable. We appreciate everyone’s patience when we experience bus route delays. OSTA is committed to providing safe transportation in all circumstances.

We just wish the weather would cooperate.


Vicky Kyriaco, General Manager/CAO