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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.  
January 21, 2016 - Issue 2

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Inside this Edition:
  1. OSBA / ISBOA Letter and Report to Minister Liz Sandals Re: Student Transportation Cost Increases
  2. NSTA and NAPT Address NHTSA's Seat-Belt Position
  3. Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) - Apr. 24-27, 2016!
  4. Gas Versus Diesel - A Question for School Bus Managers
  5. "Yield Entire Roadway to Pedestrian" Rule - Effective January 1, 2016
  6. P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program - Feb. 25 - Almost Sold Out!
  7. Order Your OSBA Publications Now!
  8. Upcoming 2016 Events
OSBA / ISBOA Letter and Report to Minister Liz Sandals Re: Student Transportation Cost Increases
 
       


January 15, 2016
 
Hon. Liz Sandals
Minister of Education
22nd Floor, Mowat Block
900 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1L2
 
Dear Minister Sandals:

Both the Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) and the Independent School Bus Operators Association (ISBOA) are seriously concerned about the cost increases in the supply of student transportation and their impact on safety, the Drivers of the school vehicles, and the sustainability of Ontario's school bus operators.
Recent cost increases are affecting the provision of student transportation and the funding level provided by the Ministry of Education, and this will only continue to worsen in the future
 
Please find enclosed the "Cost Escalation of Student Transportation Services" document which was developed collaboratively by our associations in the Fall of 2015. This document was developed to inform you of the true costs that service providers are faced with. These costs will need to be reflected in upcoming contracts.
 
Since the development of our document, and as of today, the Bank of Canada is quoting 1.4528 US dollar exchange rate. This translates to an average increase of $33,960.00 in the cost of school buses needing to be replaced in the Province. In just 3 months, since we compiled the information for the attached report, the cost of replacement buses for Ontario has increased by approximately 14 million dollars. As the sole source of funding for the student transportation industry, it is imperative that the Ministry of Education and the Province of Ontario fully comprehend the impact of increasing costs on the future sustainability of this vital service.
 
Approximately one million families depend on this vital service to hand off safe passage for their children into our education system each day. Our service allows parents to arrive on time to their place of employment, contributing to Ontario's economy. Student transportation is as vital to the Ontario economy as any other form of public transportation.
 
As always, our Associations are prepared to meet and discuss this issue with the Ministry, School Boards and Consortia, to ensure that Ontario's student transportation maintains its excellent safety record and that it is sustainable into the future.
 
Yours truly,
 










To view the "Cost Escalation of Student Transportation Services" document, click here. 
NSTA and NAPT Address NHTSA's Seat-Belt Position

Article By: School Transportation News (STN)
Article Date: January 7, 2016


In response to the
 announcement last year by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind that champions thee-point seat belts in all school buses, the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) once again partnered with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) to address these statements and express joint concern.

During the NAPT Summit in Richmond, Virginia, this past November, the NHTSA administrator focused on the need for three-point seat belts on large school buses, asserting that further investigation into the issue was essential. NSTA and NAPT replied to Rosekind’s call for additional safety measures with a joint letter that seeks an opportunity to meet with him to discuss the matter further.

The letter, dated Dec. 21, 2015, details how requiring three-point seat belts on large buses could affect not only how children ride the school bus, especially in terms of their continued safety, but could also impact the industry economically in terms of added costs as well as operations, district budgets and established regulatory procedures.  

“We are not opposed to seat belts, but for us this issue is about two things, decisions that are supported by science and data and ensuring that as many children as possible have access to the safest environment in which to travel to and from school,” NSTA stated.

The NSTA/NAPT collaboration clarified how Rosekind’s proclamation for a potential edict on three-point seat belts could force school districts around the country to cherry-pick between buying school buses fitted with the restraints or cutting services due to resulting budgetary shortfalls. 

“If a school district has to choose…they are forced to make financial decisions that may include cutting service or having an insufficient number of buses to meet their needs, then safety is no longer the first priority,” the letter stated.

While NAPT and NSTA conceded that federal funds could meet the budget deficits for purchasing buses with three-point restraints, both organizations said they believe the prime issue is child safety, especially in regards whether or not the restraints would be worn correctly, impede passenger evacuation in fire or water emergencies or prevent escape in cases of rollovers that incapacitate the driver.

The letter also zeroed in on a 2011 Petition Denial from NHTSA that concluded “the unintended effect of requiring seat belts on large school buses could endanger more children (10 to 19) than it would potentially benefit (2).”

NAPT and NSTA focused additional attention on how a seat belt requirement could bear on the student transportation industry economically. On top of costs for seat belt assembly and installation, a number of other issues were pointed out, such as driver and passenger training to guarantee proper use and potentially longer route times due to ensuring compliance. The letter strongly urged NHTSA to also avoid considering retrofitting any buses in the aging fleets around the country.

The letter wrapped up with the hope that NAPT and NSTA could reach an accord with NHTSA, asking that they be involved in any discussions concerning the matter as it moves forward, as both groups have been included on a variety of committees that deal with safety and transportation.

“We understand January 27, 2016, is the date set for the meeting of those invitees, and we request to be included in this meeting and all subsequent meetings on this issue,” the letter stated.  

Meanwhile, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services has largely applauded NHTSA's new stance.

Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) - Apr. 24-27, 2016! 

A great line-up of educational workshops and networking opportunities are currently being organized for the 2016 OTE.  Be sure to mark your calendar and visit www.ote.ca for further information.  Also note that the conference will be held in a new venue this year – the International Plaza Hotel (Toronto Airport area).  The trade show will be held in the same location – International Centre, Hall #5.  Excellent exposure and sponsorship opportunities available now to meet YOUR budget!  Registration will be available soon.  Visit www.ote.ca
Gas Versus Diesel - A Question for School Bus Managers

Article By: The Battlefords News-Optimist (Saskatchewan)
Article Date: January 14, 2016


Gas versus diesel is a question the Living Sky School Division transportation department (Saskatchewan) has been pondering and gas appears to have the edge.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Living Sky School Division board of education, Transportation Manager Colin Westgard said problems with the mandatory system that mitigates noxious fumes emitted by diesel-fueled vehicles is one of the reasons moving toward gas has been recommended.

In his report, Westgard said the lower cost and making sure there are enough buses to cover extracurricular trips and the need for spares are also reasons to look at the smaller gas buses. But most of the discussion centred on the emissions issues affecting the reliability of diesel buses.

Assistant Transportation Manager Brian Rotsey said the emission control systems on the buses available to Canada are not designed to deal with the kind of cold weather Living Sky School Division experiences. Canada is too small a market for the buses’ American manufacturers to address the problems, he said.

The problem is the legal requirement for the modern diesel buses to carry a tank containing DEF (diesel exhaust fluid), which is injected into the exhaust stream to reduce harmful emissions. DEF can’t be allowed to freeze or run low or the sensors built into the system can cause the vehicles power to “de-rate.”  While the vehicle can idle, the programming of the system can slow the vehicle or prevent it from operating.

The plumbing and electrical systems underneath the vehicle are exposed to damage as well, Rotsey said.

As a result, said Rotsey, diesel school buses are not as reliable as they once were. Other school divisions in Canada are finding the same and many are changing to gas buses.

Other challenges faced by the transportation department this year included an increase in the number of urban students, the moving of Grade 7 and 8 students to North Battleford Comprehensive High School, multiple bus drivers off for medical reasons and the dropping value of the Canadian dollar.

The low dollar has increased the cost of replacing buses, said Westgard, and also increased the cost of parts. With predictions the dollar will drop even further, board members suggested tendering for new buses be done sooner rather than later.

Westgard also said at one time, 10 out of the division’s 66 bus drivers were off for medical reasons. That will continue as drivers get older, he said.

He said his hat was off to Assistant Transportation Manager Wanda le Roux, bus drivers and parents for “some pretty creative juggling” to make sure routes were covered and children got to school.

Positives for the year, said Westgard, have been an increased number of people applying for full and casual bus driving positions, “fuel prices at an unbelievably low” and positive reports from SGI inspections.
"Yield Entire Roadway to Pedestrian" Rule - Effective Jan. 1, 2016

The new law that went into effect January 1, 2016 requires drivers to yield the entire “roadway” to pedestrians crossing at:
  1. A pedestrian crossover (typically mid-block) identified with signs, road markings and sometimes pedestrian activated warning lights
  2. School crossings (typically located mid-block) when there is a school crossing guard holding a stop sign
  3. Crosswalks at an intersection when a school crossing guard is holding a stop sign
Note: If there is a median or traffic island present that separates traffic travelling in opposing directions, the median is deemed to create two separate “roadways”, in which case once the guard/pedestrian has reached the median/island, traffic can proceed on the side that the guard/pedestrian has cleared 

Potential Fines

Drivers will be fined $150 to $500 and 3 demerit points for offences at pedestrian crossings, school crossings and at crosswalks where there are traffic signals. The maximum fine for running a red light - a practice that puts pedestrians at risk - is $200 to $1000. 


Fines are doubled in Community Safety Zones, near schools and public areas. These areas are clearly marked with signs.


If you require more information, please visit the MTO website here.
P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program - Feb. 25 - Almost Sold Out!

The Feb. 25 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program is almost sold out.  Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. 2016 Recertification Program Dates:
  • January 30 - SOLD OUT
  • February 25
  • March 12
  • April 20
  • June 22
  • September 28
  • November 23
Program location: Admiral Inn Burlington.  Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information – info@osba.on.ca
Order Your OSBA Publications Now!

Visit the OSBA website at www.osba.on.ca and click on the "STORE" tab from the home page to order the following publications.  Or click on the links below and go directly to the correct order form:

Once you have completed the necessary order form, scan/email your order to info@osba.on.ca or fax to 416-695-9977. 

Upcoming 2016 Events
 
Jan. 30 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
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
Copyright © 2016 Ontario School Bus Association
All rights reserved.  This publication is intended for the exclusive use of OSBA Members.  Reproduction without prior permission is prohibited.

Contact OSBA:
3401 Wolfedale Road, Mississauga, ON, L5C 1V8
Tel.416.695.9965 Fax 416.695.9977  
info@osba.on.ca | www.osba.on.ca
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Please address all enquiries and submissions to info@osba.on.ca  Opinions expressed do not necessarily express the opinions of the OSBA or its Board of Directors. Nor does acceptance of advertising constitute endorsement.