School bus driver shortage means no buses at the last minute for EMSB special needs students

SCHOOLBUS

Parents of about 200 special needs students at the EMSB had to scramble to find ways to get their kids to school after being told at the last minute there'd be no busing for the moment - it's a problem for the island's three major French and English school boards.

Parents on social media expressed frustrations over being informed over the weekend that their children would not have busing for at least the first day back to school.

EMSB trustee Marlene Jennings said unfortunately,  it was out of their control.

"We had one of our transporters who generally transports the special needs students and it's that company that hasn't been able to recruit or hire enough drivers to meet the demand," Jennings told reporters.

"We've asked the parents to find alternative transportation but we expect it to be resolved quite quickly."

The school bus company that handles the routes for the special needs students, Transport École Bec Montréal told CJAD 800 News that recruiting has been a challenge due to COVID.

Owner Michel Paquette said they told the EMSB, the Lester B. Pearson School Board and the Centre de services scolaire de Montréal (ex-CSDM) two weeks ago they were short on drivers, with most of the 250 potential applicants refusing over COVID concerns.  Paquette said 15 of about 40 drivers already quit last week, worried about the virus.

Paquette said they're conducting more interviews and it's also possible they could re-work some routes so they have enough drivers.

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