Walking School Bus (WSB) Program

The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) is pausing the Walking School Bus Program for the 2023-2024 school year.  While we continue to encourage active transportation and community efforts to support safe walking to school, this year OSTA will be focusing resources on the safe and timely transportation of students on yellow buses, public transit, and van service. Every school day, OSTA picks up and drops off almost 70,000 students across 2670 square kilometres. Of the 555 daily bus routes, we have 6 walking school bus routes. As we work to reimagine service delivery in alignment with new funding formulas, we felt it was necessary to prioritize our resources to core service delivery.

As we spend time this year reviewing all of our delivery models, we are hopeful that we may be able to continue or grow the program in future years. We will work with partners like the Ottawa Safety Council and Ottawa Public Health, to see where active transportation can fit in the delivery model. So for now, the program is paused, and will be part of the overall review of services offered by OSTA.

While the formal Walking School Bus Program is paused, OSTA continues to make our Walking Route maps available for families interested in walking to school. These maps indicate the safest and most direct routes to school and include the location of traffic lights and signs, crossing guards and any hazards in the neighbourhood. The routes are identified by directional arrows that lead toward the school.

Find your map here!

WSB Poster

School Active Transportation Charter

Click on School Active Transportation Charter to enlarge
Student Active Transportation Charter

SAT Charter Ceremony 3Students Jamie McWilliam (left) and Sasha Rogers share stories about why they like to walk to school during the signing ceremony for Ottawa’s active school travel charter.
SAT Charter Ceremony 2
From left to right: Julian Hanlon, OCSB Director of Education; Mark Mullan, OCSB Chairperson; Vicky Kyriaco, OSTA General Manager; Jennifer McKenzie, OCDSB Chairperson; Walter Piovesan, OCDSB Associate Director of Education; Michael Carson, OCDSB Chief Financial Officer.



Did you Know?

Did you know that walking to school improves students’ health and ability to learn?

clockStudies show that children need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day in order to maintain a healthy weight and to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Schools have also reported that students who exercise in the morning before class tend to improve their grades and be more alert and ready to learn throughout the day. Students who have participated in Green Community Canada-area schools say they enjoy connecting with their friends and parents in the morning and generally feel better all around and are more aware of their communities.

Helpful resources

WSB partners

The innovative Walking School Bus Program is a partnership between OSTA, Ottawa Public Health, Ottawa Safety Council and Green Communities Canada.

Ottawa Public Health LogoOttawa Safety Council Logo

Green Communities Canada Logo

Safer Roads Ottawa Logo

OCDSB and OCSB Logos