Bus driver shortage in some Manitoba school divisions

Seine River School Division (SRSD) and others in the province are having trouble staffing bus routes, and it’s causing some trips to be cancelled.

“We don’t have a driver for a particular route, so then you have to cancel the bus from that route,” Said Co-Superintendent Simon Laplante.

“Parents are usually advised the night before but not always.”

On Monday, the SRSD sent out a letter to parents addressing some of the bus route cancellations and outlined potential solutions, including cancelling bus trips within 1.6 kilometres of school, and dropping kids off earlier and picking them up later so buses can make two trips.

Laplante said COVID-19 health regulations have also reduced the number of available drivers.

“I’d like to get five or six more bus drivers so we can have all our routes operational. Then kids get to school on time, and they get to know their drivers cause it’s the same person all the time.”

The Winnipeg School Division (WSD) confirms it’s also had to cancel bus routes regularly this year due to a driver shortage and is actively recruiting new drivers.

UFCW Local 832 which represents bus drivers in the WSD said wages are a part of the issue,

In a statement to CTV News, union president Jeff Traeger said: “The hourly wages may look good on paper, but these are part-time, split-shift jobs. If you only get to work a few hours a day, you’re still having trouble providing for your family. Split-shifts are a part of the job, but they make it difficult to pick up additional jobs elsewhere to complete a person’s income.”