Almost 200 school bus delays reported in York Region on Thursday

By News Staff

The first day of school for some children in York Region got off to a delayed start due to a shortage of school bus drivers.

School Bus Ontario says there were 199 delays reported in York Region with over 90 of them resulting in wait times of up to one hour.

“Ottawa continues to have cancellations – averaging about 30 per day. Simcoe County is hard hit as is Hamilton and some regions in the north,” said Nancy Daigneault in a brief statement to CityNews.

The issue, according to Daigneault, is the contract bid system being used. She says it awards contracts to operators who submit the lowest bids which in turn suppresses driver wages and leads to higher turnover rates. That makes it harder to attract new drivers.

She says an average wage is somewhere between $16 and $20 an hour for a school bus driver, but adds, they are now competing with COVID support payments and other industries which have increased wages during the pandemic.

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