OSTA Board of Directors Statement – Further Details about the DriveYellow driver recruitment campaign

Last Updated on: 19th October 2023, 02:26 pm

Ottawa, Ontario – The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority Board of Directors today released the following statement: 

The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) Board of Directors empathizes with parents and students affected by the current school bus driver shortage. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by the on-going cancellations. 

As we announced previously, the OSTA Board of Directors confirms that we approved a plan to renew and amplify our DriveYellow recruitment campaign to increase driver applications further and decrease the number of driver vacancies. 

The renewed recruitment campaign will begin next week and emphasizes radio and digital marketing, specifically targeting recruitment in Ottawa’s west end, where the driver shortage is most significant. Community members can expect to see these advertisements on platforms such as CFRA and YouTube. 

OSTA launched the DriveYellow campaign in May 2023 to assist transportation providers with recruiting more drivers. When OSTA signs a contract with a transportation provider, that provider is contractually obligated to provide enough drivers to meet the transportation needs of the school boards. Since September, operators have received 382 applications from OSTA’s efforts. 50 more applications have been received since our last update on October 5th. The operator’s hiring process typically takes around four to six weeks.

Due to the driver shortage, the providers are penalized through withheld payments for services not provided. The OSTA Board of Directors is repurposing those withheld payments to fund other solutions that result in new, available drivers from other transportation operators in the Ottawa region. We will provide parents and students with an update once these solutions are finalized.

OSTA has been listening closely to parents’ concerns over the last seven weeks, and we understand that relying on our transportation services has been challenging. We want parents and students to know we take this seriously and are working hard to improve our services. Feedback is valuable and appreciated as we strive to provide dependable, reliable transportation services. 

We are asking all community members to share the DriveYellow campaign with their friends and family and help us spread the word and truly make this campaign a success for parents and students affected by the driver shortage.