The Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) is a non-profit association providing advocacy and education services for the owners of school bus fleets, school boards/transportation consortia and supplier/manufacturer companies across Ontario.  
November 18, 2014 - Issue 20

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OSBA Enhanced Supplier Partner Member:
Inside this Edition:
  1. Operational Implications Considered when Choosing a School Bus for Accessible (Special Needs) Student Transportation
  2. Annual OSBA Magazine
  3. P.R.I.D.E. Program
  4. OTE 2015 Promises Valuable Business Sessions for School Bus Operators
  5. Preparing For Winter Driving
  6. Upcoming Events
Operational Implications Considered when Choosing a School Bus for Accessible (Special Needs) Student Transportation
When it comes to choosing which type of bus to use for transporting students with special needs requiring a wheelchair lift, school bus companies and school boards/consortia must consider the school bus stopping law in the Highway Traffic Act and associated operational implications.

School bus manufacturers can provide yellow school buses that are accessible (wheelchair lift equipped) as well as a non-yellow accessible bus, similar to a regular yellow school bus in all respects with the exception of the colour, warning devices and pedestrian crossing gate. The yellow school bus can offer greater flexibility to a bus company as it can be used to transport any type of passenger, on any route. A limitation of the non-yellow bus is that it cannot be used on all routes as it lacks the equipment and regulatory authority to stop and hold traffic during loading and unloading.

While loading and unloading a passenger using the wheelchair lift is often best performed off the roadway out of the stream of traffic, this isn’t always possible. It’s important to know that when an accessible yellow school bus stops on a roadway to load or unload a student requiring the use of the wheelchair lift, the Highway Traffic Act requires the driver to use the warning lights and stop arm to hold traffic until the loading or unloading process is completed, unless the stop is made within 60 metres of a signal-controlled intersection or within a designated school bus loading zone. As the loading or unloading process can take many minutes when the wheelchair lift is used, other motorists can become impatient and illegally pass the bus.

Complaints from other motorists about delays are sometimes made to the bus company, police service and the school, urging the student be picked up or dropped off at another location. If the bus is not a yellow school bus, it can stop at the right curb or even pull over onto a suitable shoulder area, off the roadway to load or unload, allowing traffic to make its way past the bus, minimizing congestion and delays to other motorists.

Bus companies and school board/consortia consider many decisions on the use of yellow school buses for students requiring accessible vehicles, having regard for the route, traffic volumes, posted speed limits, lane configurations, impact on other road users and the presence of off-roadway locations suitable for loading and unloading. 
Annual OSBA Magazine
The OSBA Annual Magazine, School Bus Ontario, will be distributed later this month.  Magazine highlights include: 
  • Messages from the Ministers of Transportation and Education
  • Recognizing School Bus Drivers – True Professionals
  • Safety Crossing Railway Tracks
  • The Drive to Lead Others
  • Conquering Driving Distractions
  • New Training Video for Special Needs Passengers Evacuation
  • Be Seen, Be Safe Program
P.R.I.D.E. Program
Based on high demand for the P.R.I.D.E. Program, a seventh program is scheduled November 30 – December 5, 2014 and is SOLD OUT.

2015 Programs
  • January 11 – 16: SOLD OUT
  • March 15 – 20: SPACES FILLING UP QUICKLY  
  • May 24 – 29
  • July 12 – 17
  • August 9 – 14
  • October 18  23
For more information about the P.R.I.D.E. Program such as fees, benefits, and registration form, please visit
OTE 2015 Promises Valuable Business Sessions for School Bus Operators
The OTE planning committee has been hard at work developing the business session line up for next April's OTE.  A number of sessions aimed specifically at school bus operators are planned as follows:
  • Collision investigation and determining preventability
  • Best practices for transporting students with autism
  • MTO enforcement practices and policies regarding the CSA D250 standards 
  • School bus safety at protected railway crossings 
  • Driver recruitment and retention
  • Small school purpose vehicles - regulatory requirements
  • How to get your school bus drivers to do it right, the first time, every time
  • Competitive procurement update
In addition to these school bus business sessions, bus operator delegates are able to attend many other sessions aimed at operators including; MTO's Driver Certification Program - audit and training curriculum requirements; MTO Carrier Safety & Enforcement Branch update; P.R.I.D.E. Program updates; Workers comp. issues; and more.  Mark your calendar now and save the dates - April 13-15, 2015 Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel & Conference Centre and the International Centre.
Preparing For Winter With Voyageur Transportation
Winter appears to be here as most areas of Ontario have experienced their first blast (in varying degrees) of snow.

Having just completed our round of Winter Driver Meetings our team has safety at the top of their mind and wanted to share some important (and useful) winter safety tips.  As with all safety discussions, our team evaluates how we can be proactive.  What are things we can do as drivers and administrators that encourage safety before we even hit the road:

1. Pack a Winter Driving Kit.  A well-stocked kit helps to handle any emergency and should include:
  • Snow brush/ice scraper
  • Warning devices such as emergency triangles or flares
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Extra clothing (hat, pants, mittens, warm footwear)
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Snacks and water 
2. Plan Ahead.  A well thought out plan aids immensely in staying safe during winter:
  • Plan your driving route in advance and get the most up-to-date driving conditions before departing. That way, if alternate routes are needed they can be planned for
  • Take into account all types of winter delays when planning your route, be it slower traffic, reduced visibility, accidents and collisions
  • Ensure a good, thorough pre-trip inspection is completed on your vehicle
  • Remove snow and ice from your vehicle before departing
  • Wear sunglasses on bright and sunny days.
 3. Drive According to Conditions:
  • Slow down.  Remember that posted speed limits are for ideal travel conditions and so driving at a reduced speed during unfavourable conditions is your best precautionary measure against any misfortune on slippery roads
  • Be alert.  Winter presents a variety of conditions that are not common the rest of the year (i.e. black ice which tends to look like shiny new asphalt)
  • Do not use cruise control.  Winter driving requires you to be in full control at all times
  • Always drive with low beam headlights on. They are brighter than daytime running lights and make you a more visible driver
  • Lengthen the following distance in front of you.  Stopping distance on slippery roads is double what is required in dry conditions
  • Steer with smooth and precise movements.  Quickly jerking the steering wheel can result in skidding
  • Be patient.
By following the tips above and emphasizing the importance of safety, we can take an active roll in making the roads safer for everyone this winter.

Safe Driving!

Fabrizio Guzzo, Vice President  –  Schools, Charters and Transit, Voyageur Transportation Services
Upcoming Events

P.R.I.D.E. Program
Nov. 30 - Dec. 5
OSBA Webinar 
Dec. 17

Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE)
Apr. 12-15, 2015
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