Edmonton bus companies facing driver shortage partly due to COVID-19 concerns, leading to delays on first week of school

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“ECSD Transportation Services is working daily with carriers on their plans and communicating with families and schools when buses are delayed. We hope to see improvements over the next few weeks,” said Nagy in a statement.

Cory Sandstra, Southland Transportation’s general manager for Northern Alberta, saidthe company has been actively recruiting and training since early June, when the province approved the reopening of driver training schools.

“Southland Transportation is experiencing a shortage of school bus drivers for the start of the school year due to a number of factors, which include anxiety related to COVID-19 exposure, the extension of CERB, and last-minute resignations,” Sandstra said in a statement. 

Golden Arrow Buses general manager Brian Hauptman estimates that when full-day classes begin on Tuesday 32 to 35 of his approximately 430 bus routes covering public, Catholic and francophone schools in Edmonton will be without drivers.

“We’re looking at those options (for what to do) right now. Right now they’re delayed by 60 minutes to 90 minutes,” he said.

Hauptman said three weeks ago Golden Arrow had enough drivers and substitutes but as it got closer to giving out routes, people started quitting.

He said 106 drivers, including about 70 from the Edmonton area, did not return to work this fall, reducing the company’s overall workforce by more than 10 per cent.

Hauptman estimates 65 gave a reason related to COVID-19.



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