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!