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The Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) is a non-profit association providing advocacy and education services for the owners of school bus fleets across Ontario.  December 17, 2013 - Issue 23

A Win for the OSBA and the Bus Industry - MTO to Stop Treating "Restricted Use" Defects as "Out-of-Service" Defects

Several years ago, MTO created a list of various passenger-safety related bus equipment defects that, if discovered by an MTO officer during a facility visit or on-road inspection, results in the bus being placed into "restricted use". Once in "restricted use" the bus can still be operated but passengers cannot be carried, or in some cases, passengers can be carried if the defective component (loose seat, defective loading ramp, etc.) wasn't required on that trip. Some of the restricted use items are as follows:

  • Mist/fog in thermo-pane windows on school bus
  • Defective ignition interlock on emergency exit of school bus
  • Inoperative heaters
  • Missing first aid kit
  • Defective wheelchair loading ramp
  • Missing fire extinguisher
  • Loose passenger seat (no passenger allowed in that seat or the one behind it)
  • Mirror improperly adjusted
  • School bus sign covered with snow/dirt
  • Missing reflective tape on school bus
When the MTO officer fills out their Inspection Report, the "restricted use" code is entered in the "out of service" box, which means that it shows up as "out of service" on the operator's CVOR.  OSBA has long-objected to this practice as it is a distortion of the North American Standard Out of Service Criteria that Ontario subscribes to. Also, a restricted use defect is not an indication that the bus is not roadworthy. It exaggerates an operator's OOS rate and makes for unfair comparisons. School board officials, parents, insurance companies etc. interpret "Out of service" events on CVOR abstracts as a serious mechanical defect rendering a bus unfit or unsafe to operate which is not the case with most "restricted use" defects.

Last week, we were pleased to hear from MTO that they will stop their practice or recording "restricted use" defects as "out of service" defects. As of April 1, 2014 a "restricted use" defect will be noted on the inspection report as a violation, but it will not show up on the operator's CVOR as an "out of service".

Upcoming Events

P.R.I.D.E. Program
-  Jan. 12-17, 2014

-  Mar. 9-14, 2014 (March Break)
Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE)
Apr. 13-16, 2014

MTO Releases CVOR Effectiveness Study

In January of 2013, MTO contracted Deloitte LLP to perform an effectiveness study of the CVOR program. MTO released Deloitte's final report last Monday. The focus of the study was to measure whether changes to the CVOR Renewal Program and Intervention Model are meeting their objectives and are contributing to a positive impact on overall road safety. View the report here.

The study included an examination of the impact of the ministry's changes (a few years ago) from "adjusted fleet size" to the use of "kilometric travel" as a measure of exposure. Deloitte found that when comparing similar models, the model using kilometric travel was found to have a better ability to predict future collision incidence than the model using fleet size.

The Ministry will be studying the recommendations before committing to any specific action and determining next steps. Anyone wishing to provide feedback to the Ministry can submit comments on the report to Rita.Goulet@Ontario.ca

Happy Holidays to All OSBA Members and Families

On behalf of the OSBA Board of Directors and contractors, one of the real joys this holiday season is the opportunity to say thank you for your support and wish you the very best of health, happiness and prosperity for the new year.

DCP (Recognized Authority) Agreements Now Due

Recognized Authorities (RA's) under the Driver Certification Program (DCP) were asked by MTO to return a signed copy of the new DCP Agreement by December 1, 2013. Those RA's who did not return their signed copy will be contacted shortly by the Ministry to ask if it is their intention to remain in the DCP program or not. We urge RA's to respond to that correspondence when received, or face the possibility of having their RA status under the DCP terminated.

     

 

DCP Update - MTO Announces Several Changes to Proposed Business Model

MTO recently announced several modifications to their plans for revamping the Driver Certification Program (DCP). Under the DCP, bus operators are authorized by MTO to train drivers and administer the MTO written and road tests, leading to licence upgrades and renewals instead of testing drivers at DriveTest Centres. Last June, MTO presented their proposed changes to the DCP business model to DCP participants (Recognized Authorities). Operators and industry associations (including OSBA) subsequently met with MTO to provide feedback on the proposed business model and made numerous suggestions for improvement. A number of concerns were raised through this dialogue, and last week, MTO announced several changes being made within a number of the components presented in June:

Course Curriculum Standards
Originally, the Ministry intended to have one, all-encompassing course curriculum standard for bus and truck. This was of concern to the bus industry. We're pleased to hear they have decided to have separate curriculum standards for bus and truck. Also, the plan was to have RA's submit their curriculum to a third party for approval; however MTO has decided to conduct the initial curriculum review.

Program Audit
Originally, MTO's plan called for Chartered Accountants (only) to do the audits. Stakeholders including OSBA voiced concerns and MTO has decided to expand the list of eligible auditors to include any auditor (independent of the RA) with credentials or internal auditors where they have a separate reporting structure which reports to the executive board or municipal council. OSBA applauds this change.

Cost Recovery (Fees)
MTO's plan was to implement the fees (for each licence upgrade and renewal) by January 2014; however, the fees have not been approved by the Government so the implementation date has yet to be determined.

Criminal Background Check for Signing Authorities (SA's)
For existing SA's, the criminal background check won't be required until September 2014.

Copyright © 2013 Ontario School Bus Association
All rights reserved.  This publication is intended for the exclusive use of OSBA Members.  Reproduction without prior permission is prohibited.

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