Eight-year-old Anneke and 10-year-old Luc VanderVelde shy away from traffic on Silver Star Road. (Lisa VanderVelde Photography)

Input on Vernon school bus changes sought

The Vernon School District is looking for feedback on changes to their transportation policies

Since its formation in November, the Vernon School District’s transportation review committee has set its sights on the controversial decision to implement a new courtesy rider fee.

The committee – comprised of trustees Gen Acton, Lori Mindnich and Mark Olsen among other stakeholders and other members – was established to consider feedback and develop recommended changes to the policies.

“Having received the report from the committee, the board of education now invites the public to provide feedback on the recommendations presented by the committee,” the District said in a release.

Read more: Vernon committee looks to tackle school bus issues

Six recommendations were proposed to the board.

One of the past board’s controversial decisions, the implementation of a $300 courtesy rider fee, is up for recommended changes. Under the recommendation, all students would pay a registration fee of $25, plus an additional $175 for courtesy riders. The net impact of this change is estimated at an increase of $40,575.

Another recommendation seeks to alter the bus route stop regulation by adding a line that reads, “Bus stops (for any one bus) should be spaced not less than one (1) km apart on highways and roads with sidewalks, and should be spaced not less than 700 metres apart on gravel roads without sidewalks.” That recommendation comes with an estimated price tag of $60,000.

In addition, the committee recommended that the board change the walk limit eligibility from 2.4 kilometres to two kilometres for elementary school students and three kilometres for secondary students.

In an effort to achieve estimated savings of $165,000 and increase efficiency, the committee also recommends staggered bell times.

Read more: Potential bus changes drive concern

Read more: Seatbelts on school buses would come with safety, cost concerns

“It was suggested staggered bell times would also improve wait times for students in the morning, so improving service to students,” the survey reads. “School buses would drop off elementary students, and then complete the runs for high school students, for a class start time of approximately 9 a.m.”

Other recommendations include the establishment of an appeals committee to review concerns and complaints from parents who want to appeal a decision made by the transportation department and a rider eligibility addition for special needs transportation.

The survey is available online at sd.22.bc.ca until 4 p.m. Monday, April 15.


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