The Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) is a non-profit association providing advocacy, education and legislative consultation services to the owners of school bus fleets, school boards/transportation consortia and supplier/manufacturer companies across Ontario.  
February 3, 2016 - Issue 3

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Inside this Edition:
  1. Student Transportation Competitive Procurement Review Report and Information Sessions
  2. Errors on MTO Class B and E Knowledge Test Papers
  3. Driving a Bus With an Illuminated ABS Light on the Dash
  4. Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) - TRADE SHOW - Apr. 24-27, 2016
  5. School Bus Cameras Could Catch Those Passing Stopped Buses
  6. Thomas Built Buses to Debut Training Institute in Canada
  7. Inaugural P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program - January 30th, 2016
  8. Building Towards the Future
  9. Upcoming 2016 Events
Student Transportation Competitive Procurement Review Report and Information Sessions

On January 28, 2016, Education Minister Sandals released the Student Transportation Competitive Procurement Review Report prepared by retired Justice Colin Campbell.  Click here for full report.

The Minister’s letter provides response to the Report and identifies next steps over the coming weeks.  Click here for letter.  OSBA thanks the Minister, Justice Campbell,  the sector and industry representatives which contributed to the discussions over the past year.

OSBA looks forward to working with all parties in moving forward on the Report’s recommendations.  Member feedback is always appreciated.

Two information sessions will be held next week to discuss the
 Student Transportation Competitive Procurement Review Report.

The Review Team — the Honourable Colin Campbell, Mr. Leo Gotlieb, and Mr. Paul Emanuelli — will be present to answer questions and provide clarification on their findings.  Details on the information sessions are provided below:

Information Session #1
Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Time: 2:30 to 4:30 pm
Location: Durham Catholic District School Board
  Catholic Education Centre
  650 Rossland Road, West
  Oshawa, ON L1J 7C4

A teleconference option will be provided for Information Session #1. Teleconference details as follows: 
  • Teleconference #: 1-866-234-0247
  • Access Code: 1932345
Information Session #2
Date: Thursday, February 11, 2016
Time: 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Location: Peel District School Board
  HJA Brown Education Centre
  5650 Hurontario Street
  Mississauga, ON, L5R 1C6
If you have any further questions regarding these sessions, please do not hesitate to contact:
Errors on MTO Class B and E Knowledge Test Papers - Retread Tires and Axes/Claw Bars

Recently, two OSBA members reported their drivers were marked wrong for answering a question on the Class B and E knowledge test paper, regarding retread tires on a school bus.  The question basically asks if retread tires are permitted on a school bus.  The test answer strip says to mark it wrong if the applicant answers yes.  The test paper answer strip is wrong. Retread tires are permitted on the drive axle of a school bus, but not on the front axle.  OSBA pointed this error out to MTO and we are advised that a bulletin will be issued shortly to all DriveTest Centres and Signing Authorities to explain how to mark test papers which include the retread tire question.

It also came to our attention this week that some Class B and E knowledge test papers still have a question regarding the requirement for an axe or claw bar on a school bus.  The question basically asks if an axe or claw bar is mandatory equipment on a school bus. The applicant is marked wrong if they answer no.  The test paper answer strip is wrong.  Axes or claw bars have not been required equipment on a school bus since Regulation 612 of the HTA was amended back in November of 2010.  MTO has advised that a bulletin will be issued shortly to all DriveTest Centres and Signing Authorities to explain how to mark test papers which include the axe/claw bar question.
Driving a Bus With an Illuminated ABS Light on the Dash

For over 15 years (since April 2000) Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) has been a federal requirement on buses and trucks sold in Canada.  ABS is an important safety feature, helping drivers maintain directional control by reducing the likelihood of wheel lock-up during braking.

The question is often asked by drivers and operators alike, can I legally drive my bus with an illuminated ABS light (indicating the ABS is not functioning normally)?  The answer is “yes”, the bus can be driven legally however it is recommended the ABS fault is investigated and repaired as it is an important safety feature.  For on-road day to day bus operations, an illuminated ABS light is not a prescribed major or minor defect under Ontario Regulation 199/07 (Daily Inspections) and an illuminated ABS light is not a defect under any other section or regulation of the HTA. 

However, when it comes to the annual or semi-annual safety (sticker) inspection, the law says any bus manufactured with ABS cannot be issued a safety sticker if the ABS light is illuminated
Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) - TRADE SHOW - Apr. 24-27, 2016 

International Centre, Hall 5 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The 2016 Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) Exhibitor Prospectus is now available on-line at the following link:
Registration for OMCA, OPTA and OSBA members opened Feb. 1, 2016.  For information, 2015 exhibitors were given the first right of refusal and have selected their display spaces.  To register as an exhibitor: 
  • Click on the following link:
  • Enter the appropriate exhibitor passcode when prompted (previously emailed to all OSBA Supplier/Manufacturer members).  Please note this code is case sensitive and is good from Monday, Feb. 1st to Sunday, Feb. 7th.  Trade show registration will be public as of Monday, Feb. 8th, 2016.
  • To review the on-site interactive floorplan and see available display space:
If any questions, please contact the 2016 OTE Event Manager as follows:
Janice Fendley, CMP
j. fendley consulting inc.
Tel: 905-337-7362  Fax: 905-842-6124
School Bus Cameras Could Catch Those Passing Stopped Buses

Article By: CBC News
Article Date: February 1, 2016

Waterloo region's head of student transportation is calling for cameras to be installed on the sides of school buses — at a price tag of about $16,000 per bus — in a move that would see drivers who fail to stop for the buses caught and ticketed.

"That's the scariest part of their day - every time they stop the bus to let students off, there's always a risk, and we see it daily, of cars driving by," student transportation services general manager Benoit Bourgault told CBC News.

Bourgault's call comes after a new report that shows regional drivers illegally pass stopped buses, with their stop signs extended, over 500 times each week.  The study was conducted by Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region, which asked bus drivers to track the number of people driving through their stop signs in a given week.  The results suggested there were some 500 to 700 violations each week in the Waterloo region alone.

"It's urgent," Benoit said. "Every time I meet bus drivers, the first thing they talk to me about is people driving through the stop sign."

Under the proposal, seven cameras would be mounted on the sides of each bus, videotaping the entire ride and tracking when stopping arms and warning lights are extended.  A motion sensor would capture any cars dodging the stop signs.

Much like a red-light camera, tickets could be sent directly to the vehicle owner rather than to individual drivers.

One stop on the road to student safety

But fitting the buses won't be cheap.  Plans are still in the early stages but could come with a price tag of $16,000 per bus. 

That cost would be footed by Waterloo Region - not by the school boards or the province and ideally recouped by the revenues generated from catching drivers fail to stop when required.

Waterloo would not be the first region in Ontario to implement the school bus technology.  Similar plans have already been adopted in Ottawa and Sudbury with varying degrees of success.

Benoit would like to see the technology in place as soon as possible but says details still need to be worked out between police and the camera vendors.  After that, the next step will be to get the municipality and the region to agree to cost-sharing and violation management plans.

Benoit says cameras are only one part of the solution, saying it's possible drivers don't know the rules or might not be paying attention, distracted by phones or other handheld devices.  But, he says, they're one stop on the road to improved safety for students who use the bus service.

"At the end of the day the camera is only there as a threat for people to know that they have to stop."
Thomas Built Buses to Debut Training Institute in Canada

Article By: School Transportation News (STN)
Article Date: January 28, 2016

Thomas Built Buses is heading north, launching a new training institute in Canada that should open early 2016.

In April, the Daimler Trucks subsidiary will debut the new Thomas Built Institute Service Training in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, at the Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference.

“We are pleased to be able to add a Canadian location to our institute round-up. Participants this year again can expect hands-on experience and the opportunity to brush up on their skills in less than a week,” said Mike Stotler, service education manager for Thomas Built Buses.

Technicians who attend the institute will focus on either Type C or Type D models, receiving 28 continuing education credit hours for participation.  The curriculum includes a range of subjects, such as EPA emissions, advanced electrical, coolant class, seating systems, wheelchair lifts and Allison transmissions, just to name a few.

The school bus company will follow up its Canadian unveiling with its launch of two additional institutes — Thomas Built Institute’s Service Training East in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Thomas Built Institute’s Service Training West in Denver, Colorado — this summer and fall.
Inaugural P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program - January 30th, 2016

The first P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program was conducted Jan. 30, 2016 in Burlington, Ontario.  The curriculum included a one-day review of the original 5-day P.R.I.D.E. Program with participants noting that it was “fantastic!”, “lively and fun” and a “great refresher!”.  Participants themselves conducted very interesting presentations based on the Ministry of Transportation curriculum guidelines and certainly reaffirmed that knowledgeable and skilled driver trainers turn out superior trainees and front line bus drivers.
Building Towards the Future

Article By: School Transportation News (STN)
Article Date: January 28, 2016

Maurine Simons didn’t set out to be a trailblazer. She merely aspired to work with airplanes. However, the 33-year-old from Washington state, through twists of fate, has emerged as a torchbearer for female school bus technicians nationwide.

Last fall, Simons entered the America’s Best School Bus Inspector and Inspector Skills and Training Competition held during the NAPT Summit. In doing so, she became the first female competitor in the event's history. She proved to be a tough competitor, holding her own against her counterparts. While she didn’t emerge from the contest in the top spot, she wasn’t entirely disappointed. She left Richmond, Virginia, with a clear goal: Return and win.

Since 2012, Simons has used school bus mechanic competitions “as an opportunity to test my skills and learn something new, and network with other mechanics in the field.”

She has been a school bus mechanic at the South Kitsap School District outside Seattle for six years. She reported that although this latest turn of events has been an amazing stroke of luck, she originally wanted to be an aircraft mechanic, but “there was not a school close by that was an affordable option for me, so automotive was as close as I could get.”

Simons graduated in 2008 with an associate's degree in automotive technology from Olympic College in upstate Washington, only the second woman to complete the program. She started working at the local GM dealership and was also hired as an adjunct professor at Olympic College teaching Automotive 101. She soon left both these positions and began working at South Kitsap as a substitute mechanic.

The district quickly realized that they had a talented mechanic on their hands and hired Simons to a permanent position. She says the transition into this profession has been both laidback and stressful, as with any new job. Yet, Simons found certain aspects a bit nerve-wracking, mostly due to a lack of diversity in a field that remains male-dominated.

But while female mechanics are uncommon, Simons says her male colleagues have never made her feel inadequate or inferior in her skills.  

“I will never be one of the boys and don't want to be. We have made a family out of our workplace and I enjoy going to work every day, because of my coworkers," she said.  “I am blessed to be working in a smaller shop with a family-like atmosphere to it. We all work together using the strengths of each other to improve our skills.”

As for how it feels to be opening doors for other female technicians, Simons said she has found the role slightly overwhelming at times, since she sees herself as just another mechanic. Yet, she knows that there is still a lot of work do to. The field, though, appears to be evolving quickly.

Simons does have advice for all those future female mechanics, believing that some of the barriers that women must overcome when entering this field can transform them into great technicians. 

“You have to be willing to step into a male-dominated field not trying to be one of the boys, but showing them the skills that you can bring to the table are just as valuable as the skills they have. Be willing to share knowledge and be willing to accept help or ask for it. This does not make you any less of a mechanic. It makes you a stronger one. Be able to accept your weaknesses and share your strengths,” she said.
Upcoming 2016 Events
Jan. 31-Feb. 5 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Feb. 25 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Mar. 12 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Mar. 13-18 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Mar. 15-18 Alberta Student Transportation Advisory Council (ASTAC) – Annual Conference
Mar. 30-Apr. 1 Student Transportation Association of Saskatchewan (STAS) – Annual Conference
Apr. 16-21 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference (CPTC)
Apr. 20 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Apr. 24-27 Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) – Conference – International Plaza Hotel, Toronto
Apr. 26 Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) – Trade Show – International Centre (Hall #5), Toronto
May 1-6 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
May 9-11 Association of School Business Officials of Alberta (ASBOA) – Annual Conference and Trade Show
May 25 OSBA Webinar
Jun. 22 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Jul. 10-15 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Aug. 7-12 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Sept. 28 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Oct. 16-21 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Oct. 19 OSBA Webinar
Nov. 23 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
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All rights reserved.  This publication is intended for the exclusive use of OSBA Members.  Reproduction without prior permission is prohibited.

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