School bus operators defend decision to run buses in snowy weather
An Amherstburg councillor is concerned over the decision to operate school buses in snowy and slippery conditions Wednesday morning.
Essex County OPP reports over 20 crashes between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. including two involving school buses, due to the recent snowfall. The Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board confirms a third school bus crash, where two students were on board, but were not hurt.
One collision involving a bus took place on Concession 14 in Essex near Walker Side Road.
There were 17 high school students aboard when the bus slid off the road and entered a ditch. No one, including the driver, was injured.
Essex-Windsor EMS attended as a precaution only.
“Another bus came out to get them,” says GECDSB spokesperson Scott Scantlebury. “They were transported to the school. Parents of all the students were notified. At the scene, no one reported serious injury. There were no obvious serious injuries but we're going to keep an eye on the students just to be sure.”
Another school bus was hit by another vehicle in the area of Highway 3 and Essex County Road 29 (Division Road) in Kingsville. Only the driver was onboard the bus. No injuries were reported.
Amherstburg councillor Rick Fryer questions the decision to send out the school buses Wednesday morning.
“The buses, I don't think should have been out this morning because of driver and student safety,” says Rick Fryer.
Fryer is not only addressing student safety on a bus but students waiting to get picked up.
“This morning there was probably a half to a quarter kilometre visibility for myself driving into Windsor to where I work,” says Fryer. “If you have students standing where they normally would what's it for a student to be hit by a car that slips.
Crystal Williamson, the regional manager for Sharp bus lines, says 21 spotters were out as early as 5:20 a.m. and they were comfortable with allowing buses to operate.
“What we do is we call other operators and we network each other,” says Williamson. “It's a consensus. If I don't feel safe to run, nobody runs. We all shutdown.”
Williamson tells CTV News a message was sent to drivers once the decision was made to continue.
“Just get there when you can. Don't worry about your schedule. Safety before schedules is what we always say.”
Fryer wants someone from the bus consortium to come to Amherstburg council and present criteria so that everyone understands the decision to operate on a snow or a fog day.