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.  
August 31, 2016 - Issue 18

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Inside this Edition:
  1. Best Wishes for Back-to-School
  2. New Driver Licence Fee Comes Into Effect Sept. 1, 2016
  3. Plan Now For School Bus Safety Week and School Bus Driver Appreciation Day
  4. NHTSA Proposes Federal Distracted, Drowsy Driving Rules
  5. 2016 OSBA Driver Excellence Recognition Award
  6. NY Contractor to Operate First Electric School Bus in State
  7. Back to School Planning Starts With Bus Safety Lessons For New Riders
  8. This Self-Driving Bus Could Radically Change Public Transportation
  9. Upcoming 2016 Events
Best Wishes for Back-to-School

On behalf of the OSBA Board of Directors and contractors, OSBA sends along very best wishes to all members for a safe and trouble-free back-to-school!  OSBA is honoured to represent members and the thousands of people who tirelessly give of their time, effort and commitment to get all kids to school safely, on-time and ready to learn!
New Driver Licence Fee Comes Into Effect Sept. 1, 2016

Province Maintaining Transportation Infrastructure

Driver licence fee increases come into effect this September to help maintain Ontario's transportation infrastructure. Additional fees for reinstatements, replacements and commercial permits will follow effective January 1, 2017.

As of September 1, 2016:
  • The Driver's Licence Original and Renewal Fee, including the driver licensing fee as part of the Enhanced Driver Licence, will change from $81.50 to $90
  • Vehicle Licence Validation in Northern Ontario will change from $54 to $60
  • Vehicle Licence Validation in Southern Ontario will change from $108 to $120.
New fee changes effective January 1, 2017:
  • The Driver's Licence Reinstatement Fee after Suspensions and Administrative Monetary Penalty will change from $180 to $198
  • Driving Instructors Licence Replacement will change from $28 to $31
  • Oversize/Overweight (O/O) Permit Replacement will change from $28 to $31
  • Original and Replacement Plate/Permit Fee for Manufacturer motor vehicle and motorcycle and dealer plate will change from $20 to $25
  • Original and Replacement Plate/Permit Fee for Manufacturer motor vehicle and motorcycle and dealer permit will change from $10 to $32.
Updated fees help maintain the province's transportation infrastructure and provide resources to help keep Ontario's roads safe and are consistent with recommendations from the Auditor General of Ontario to achieve full cost recovery for delivery of services.

For additional resources, please click here. For additional information, please contact Stephen Heckbert at
Plan Now For School Bus Safety Week and School Bus Driver Appreciation Day

October 17-21, 2016 is School Bus Safety Week, a special opportunity for bus companies, school boards/transportation consortia, media, parents, students, teachers, motorists and many others to come together and reinforce the importance and safe image/brand of student transportation.  “Bully Free Zone!” is this year’s OSBA theme (adopted from National Association for Pupil Ttansportation [NAPT]).  It helps remind everyone that differences should be respected not ridiculed.  A bully free environment is important so that children can feel secure travelling to and from school knowing that bullying will not be tolerated and that there is an ongoing commitment of keeping all kids safe.

THE POSTER BELOW IS COMING TO YOU at the beginning of September – please place in driver areas and any other location you think appropriate!
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 is School Bus Driver Appreciation Day.  Please send us information regarding your driver appreciation activities so that we may highlight in the OSBA newsletter.  School bus drivers are a very special and talented group of people who embrace a tremendous responsibility to ensure kids remain protected and out of harm’s way each and every day.
NHTSA Proposes Federal Distracted, Drowsy Driving Rules

Article By: School Transportation News (U.S.A.)
Article Date: August 23, 2016

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) seeks to target distracted and drowsy driving with an amendment to its Highway Safety Program Guidelines.

The agency stated in the Federal Register that it “believes the new guideline will provide more accurate, current and effective guidance to the states regarding distracted and drowsy driving.” 

The amendment would require all states to enact and enforce laws that prohibit the use of wireless communications devices while driving, which would ban talking, dialing, browsing or texting when operating a vehicle. NHTSA added that drivers should also be prohibited from texting while stopped in an active traffic lane. Any violation, the agency stated, should be a primary offense. 

Additionally, the proposal advised that states should enact and enforce laws that prohibit drowsy driving, using existing statutes that address reckless driving, along with training for law enforcement to identify drowsy drivers. To help drivers learn the harmful effects of distracted and drowsy driving, NHTSA recommended that states include information on the issue in licensing manuals as well as in behind-the-wheel and classroom tests.
2016 OSBA Driver Excellence Recognition Award

Once again this year, OSBA will be recognizing the exceptional efforts put forth by thousands of school bus drivers each and every day.  OSBA will present an award to recognize an extraordinary school bus driver who has demonstrated exemplary performance and a commitment to excellence, particularly in the areas of driving, customer service and safety.
If you would like to nominate someone from your company, or are aware of a very special school bus driver in your area, 
please submit the following nomination form by Sept. 30, 2016 to  The form can be found at the following links:
All nomination forms will be reviewed and one candidate selected by a committee of the OSBA Board of Directors.  The awards will be presented on Oct. 27, 2016 at the Blue Mountain Resort, Collingwood during the Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) annual pupil transportation conference (to be confirmed).
We look forward to hearing from you by Sept. 30th.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at
NY Contractor to Operate First Electric School Bus in State

Article By: School Transportation News (Long Island, NY)
Article Date: August 23, 2016

Educational Bus Transportation introduced the first 25-passenger Trans Tech Bus SSTe into New York as the school bus contractor will operate the zero-emissions electric vehicle for customer Copiague Public Schools on Long Island.

A spokesman for Trans Tech Bus confirmed that the bus is the first of its kind in New York State, while the manufacturer has already delivered several of the vehicles to school districts in California. The Type A school bus has a range of 120 miles between chargers, and offers a seating capacity of 25 students.

“We are proud to be the first district in New York to make such a major commitment to the environment and to cleaner air for our students,” said Copiague Public Schools Superintendent Kathleen Bannon. “Thanks to Educational Bus Transportation, our district will benefit from an all-electric vehicle that is sustainable, safe, and efficient.”

The contractor, a company of The Trans Group, also operates routes for districts throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The EPA and the National School Transportation Association have both recognized The Trans Group for its commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of its school bus operations.

“The new bus appealed to us because it performs all the same functions as a traditional bus without generating emissions,” said Sean Corr, president of Educational Bus. “In addition, it provides a quieter ride for passengers, reduces fuel expenses by using low-cost electricity, and offers significantly reduced service and maintenance costs. We’re excited to add this innovative vehicle to our fleet. It’s a significant first step towards alternative transportation that embraces today’s clean technology."
Back to School Planning Starts With Bus Safety Lessons For New Riders

Article By: Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, AB)
Article Date: August 24, 2016

Before their first day of school, hundreds of Edmonton grade school students had a lesson in getting to and from school on a bus safely.

“Our parents who feel a little uncomfortable or nervous feel much better once they’ve been through this, and the little ones learn where to get on the bus and how to get off at their stop,” said Fraser Methuen, acting manager of student transportation with Edmonton Public School District.

At the First Riders program at Northlands, students got lessons on bus safety. The program is geared for children who will use yellow buses to get to elementary school, or junior high school age students who will use Edmonton Transit buses for the first time.

Elementary school students first watched a short safety video, then got safety tips from some of the bus drivers who will be taking them to class.

Students were taught to stand at least five metres away from the curb when waiting for their bus and to take “five big steps” away from the bus when they disembark. This makes it easier for bus drivers to see the students and helps prevent dangerous situations where a child could fall or slip under the bus.

For junior high students learning how to use public transit, instructors focused on how to navigate routes and use transfers as well as how to find help — such as from a peace officer at a transit station — should they encounter a problem.

But according to Taya Tattersall, who has been a school bus driver with First Student for seven years, it’s not just the students who need the lessons in bus safety. “This event helps with the education of the parents even more than the kids,” said Tattersall.

The biggest threat to children, Tattersall said, is when vehicles pass illegally as students are being let off.

Drivers are expected to stop approximately 20 metres away from the bus. But Tattersall said it doesn’t always work that way, noting that drivers in a rush can put children at risk.

Chris Goossen was at the First Riders program with his son John, five, who will take the bus to his first day of school. He said the event would help build his son’s confidence ahead of the big day.

“It’s about breaking down some of the fear and unknowns about the first day,” said Goossen. “The smoother the transition is, the more success they have. ”

In Edmonton, nearly 18,000 students will take the bus to school this year, with 12,000 riding a yellow school bus.
This Self-Driving Bus Could Radically Change Public Transportation

Article By: Business Insider
Article Date: August 22, 2016

Mercedes-Benz wants to completely change the bus-riding experience.

In July, the auto company unveiled its vision for the aptly named Future Bus — a semi-autonomous bus that successfully completed a 12-mile route that included traffic lights, tunnels, and navigating around pedestrians.

To create the Future Bus, Mercedes built upon its platform for autonomous trucks to create a system optimized for buses dubbed City Pilot. It uses camera systems, radar sensors, and GPS to navigate safely.

But even though the Future Bus has autonomous features, Mercedes does not plan on releasing a fully driverless Future Bus.

"Driverless buses are not currently legally possible on public roads. Furthermore, this is not our aim," Andreas Mink, director of engineering electronics for the bus project, told Business Insider in an email. "On the contrary, the driver's job involves a lot of responsibility, and we want to make this job as easy as we can rather than do away with it."

Where Mercedes is really pushing the envelope with its driverless bus is with its interior design that's composed of three different areas. The central area is called the "express zone" and is reserved space for standing passengers who have a short trip ahead. In the back there is a "lounge zone" for people who have longer trips ahead, and then there's a "service zone" near the driver where passengers can look up information.

"The interior design of the Future Bus offers numerous ideas for rethinking the tried-and-tested partitioning of the passenger compartment, which has remained essentially unchanged for decades," Mink said. "The aim of the interior design is to make the passenger compartment seem more relaxed and less strictly compartmentalized. It creates both open spaces as well as niches and areas to withdraw into."

Whether people will follow the seating arrangement will have to be seen, and Mink said that there won't be any features to guide people to the right area. But it's an interesting attempt to change the typically cramped bus interior, and Mink said that it still fits the standard 105 people.

Mercedes is also claiming that the future bus will be more fuel-efficient than buses on the road, thanks to it being semiautonomous.

"We are expecting a substantial reduction in fuel consumption [because of] the optimized acceleration and the anticipatory driving style thanks to early detection of bus stops and traffic lights as well as the influence networking has on these aspects," he said. "The consistent driving style lowers fuel consumption and therefore emissions, reduces wear, and is also passenger-friendly."

But it could also come with an electric drive system later on, Mink added.

It's still unclear when we'll see the Future Bus on the road, but Mercedes is investing roughly $227 million to develop its city buses by 2020. Mink added that the bus still needs further testing and that Mercedes is planning to add more driver-assistance features before it rolls out.
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