Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More on bus operators

The Trentonian was out in Brighton Tuesday where Premier Dalton McGuinty was chatting up / re-announcing the capital dollars for a new school in that town. Conveniently, the latest epicentre for small school bus companies worried the provincial busing consortia are about to piss away their livelihoods.
Rolland Montgomery cornered the Premier who was in Brighton to announce the construction of a new school.
Independent operators across the province are in the midst of battle, fighting a provincial government plan that will force them to compete against multi-national firms by bidding for school bus routes.
Operators like Montgomery say if the province pushes through with the plan, they will be picking up welfare cheques and not students.
But Montgomery appeared optimistic following the impromptu session.
“The Premiere (sic) assured me that a special assistant will get back to us as he doesn’t want to see the small school bus operators in the province going out of business,” said Montgomery. “It seems like he [Premiere McGuinty] wants to support us locally, and we need to be supported.”
A spokesperson for the premier did not want to go on record with a comment.
Later in the article, it refers to the Wellington-Dufferin consortia, where a mom-and-pop school bus company lost 10 of its routes in a pilot RFP process there. The concern is this move to consortia-based RFPs will result in only large domestic and U.S.-based (the article quotes Montgomery saying "offshore") companies getting contracts.
This has been discussed in previous posts, including the one directly below this one.
A thought that frequently comes to mind when discussing school transportation is the ultimate option: no transportation. There are a number of first-world countries around the world where getting the student to school is the family's responsibility, not the school's. I had an exchange experience in Switzerland in 1993 where that was the case-- as a student in the Swiss '├ęcole superieure' I was responsible for finding my own way to school and home every day.
Just a thought, not an ultimate suggestion.


Anonymous said...

re: provide no transportation. I've also thought about this ER. As a matter of fact I know that in some boards where boundaries have been dropped allowing parents to choose between all of the public schools in their area, that the parents have to provide the transportation...and they do. They've arranged carpools and/or do what's necessary to get them the education they wish. The board is semi-urban in that the schools both town and country are a short drive away.

Would be a different kettle of fish rurally though where it's expected that bus service will be provided. If the service would stop folks with families may be less inclined to settle in small towns or rural places?

I find it interesting that while Mr. Montgomery is encouraged by the Premier's response the fact that McGuinty would not go on record with his comments says it all for me.

I also have to wonder whether McGuinty really knows what's going on in the consortium's wake, which didn't just start yesterday.

Cold comfort for those small bus companies already out of business, and simply political optics with no intent behind the words.