School bus concerns

Whitevale parent upset with changes to the bus schedule

In a recent edition was a letter from Robert E. Lee voicing his concerns over school bus route changes.

I would like to add my own letter as our family has also been impacted by the bus route changes.

Like Mr. Lee, despite writing many letters to both the superintendent of schools and the manager of school bus transportation expressing my concerns, we have got nothing in response from them except for bureaucratic mumbo jumbo.

Because we live in Whitevale, our son has to take two buses to get to his French immersion school in Vernon, and we were informed in June that because he “chooses” to go to school outside his catchment area of Lumby (which does not offer French immersion education) the bus is just a “courtesy” ride and the first bus, from just outside our home, to Lumby, has been eliminated.

We were then informed that should we choose to drive our son the 5.3 kilometres to Lumby (that’s more than 200 kilometres a month round-trip) he could catch the second bus from there.

The first issue is that they did not actually eliminate the bus, they changed the schedule of the second bus, to arrive eight minutes earlier, but they did not adjust the time of the first by eight minutes, and therefore the two buses no longer connect.

Because of this we must now drive over 200 kilometres a  month to catch that second bus, for the sake of an eight-minute change.

Good thing we have a second vehicle on the road pumping out more gas emissions into the air, or he would be unable to continue the French immersion education he has been taking for the past 10 years, and unable to graduate with his friends.

The second and  more concerning issue, is one of safety. The afternoon bus now drives right past our road and drops him off three-qurters-of-a-kilometre further away because that is the designated stop.

The driver said he is not allowed to stop and let my son out, because to do so would be risking his job. Three-quarters-of-a-kilometre is not very far except that in the winter, it arrives back here after dark and in our rural area there are no streetlights and no sidewalks.

Often the sides of the road are piled with snow and he will be forced to walk three-quarters-of-a-kilometre on the road in the dark, when they could have dropped him off right at the end of our road, where they have done for the past six years, without changing their route or schedule at all.

It makes no sense to put children’s lives at risk for the sake of policy and I would love to know which of these bureaucrats will be ducking responsibility when someone’s child gets hit by a car?


Tammy Pharand