Criteria for Bus Cancellations due to Inclement Weather
We are all concerned about the safe transportation of students to school, especially during inclement weather. School bus operators are responsible for determining if buses will be cancelled. Early in the morning (prior to 5:30 a.m.), the bus operators assess the weather and road conditions to determine if the buses will start and run safely on our roads.
Operators work together to make recommendations and take the following into consideration to ensure that student safety is a number one priority:
- Bus operators travel and assess some of the roads on their routes, making periodic stops in areas where students are being picked up
- They determine if snow plows have been out, if the roads require sanding, and if the traction of the roads will allow them to stop and re-start their buses safely after picking up your child
- The bus operator communicates with the local municipal road superintendents:
- To get an update on the road conditions
- To find out when the streets are to be plowed and sanded
- In some cases, the OPP or local police services are contacted to get information on the road conditions
- Lack of visibility is taken into consideration for the safe operation of buses. It is important that the driver is able to see far enough in advance to detect other vehicles on the road and/or students waiting for the bus
- Temperature has an affect on the ability of buses to operate in extreme cold weather. Most of the buses run on diesel fuel, which can gel (i.e., thicken) as a result of cold temperatures. The buses may initially start, but may quit along the route, as the fuel turns to gel. Operators don’t want to risk students being on a bus without heat or waiting at a bus stop for long periods of time
- On cold weather days, the operator checks to see if the buses will start. Buses at the operator’s facility are plugged in to keep the oil heated. However, some buses are parked at schools and other remote locations where they cannot be plugged in
- Freezing rain is a very difficult weather condition. In some circumstances paved roads may be fine, but gravel roads are unsafe. As well, conditions may deteriorate quickly with this type of weather
Once the operators have assessed the conditions and consulted with their peers, they will review their findings with the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium. Together they will make a decision regarding cancellation.
If there is a decision to cancel, it is immediately communicated and posted on this web site's Home page and reported to the media.