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.  
December 7, 2016 - Issue 25

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Inside this Edition:
  1. New MTO Process for Class B and E Licences - Effective Jan. 1, 2017
  2. OSBA Participates in Ministry of Education - Student Transportation Safety Committee
  3. NYAPT: Thoughts With Families Of Chattanooga, TN, Bus Crash
  4. 2017 Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) - Website is Now Live!
  5. NHTSA School Bus Meeting Seeks 'Road To Zero' Fatalities
  6. Student Transportation of Canada Gets Into the Holiday Spirit!
  7. U.S. Feds Aim To Reduce Fuel Consumption With Low Rolling Resistance Tires
  8. FMCSA Issues Final Rule On CDL Alcohol, Drug Clearinghouse
  9. Prepping School Buses For Winter Weather - A Year-Round Affair
  10. Upcoming Events
New MTO Process for Class B and E Licences - Effective Jan. 1, 2017

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) very recently advised OSBA that the current process for a criminal background check for Class B and E licences for MTO purposes, will no longer be conducted at DriveTest or ServiceOntario Centres.  The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has advised MTO that they will be cancelling their Memorandum of Understanding to conduct criminal record checks on behalf of MTO as of Dec. 31, 2016.

As of Jan. 1, 2017, all school bus applicants must apply for and obtain a criminal background check at their local police service in order to satisfy MTO regulations for a school bus driver licence application.  This check includes examination of:  1) local police information (LPI) database and 2) criminal record convictions (CRC) - a check of the RCMP national database. This criminal background check will satisfy MTO HTA Regulation 340/94 in order to be granted a Class B or E licence by MTO.


1. An original copy of the criminal background check results can only be mailed via Canada Post to the MTO at the following address.  A faxed or scan/emailed copy WILL NOT be accepted by MTO:

Ministry of Transportation
Driver Improvement Office, Driver Control Section
Attn: Class B or E CRJM
77 Wellesley St. W. Box 671
Toronto, Ontario  M7A 1N3

2. Direct email requests to the Security Enquiries Unit (OPP) - from a bus company will no longer be accepted as of Jan. 1, 2017.  Class B and E applicants must request a criminal background check at a local police service.
3. For MTO purposes, only one original background check results document is required to be submitted to MTO – either a “criminal background check” (as noted above) or a “Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC)”.  Either of these documents 
are obtainable from a local police service.
4. Applicants who wish to enquire about the status of their criminal background check will be
able call the ServiceOntario General Enquiries number – 416-235-2999 or 1-800-387-3445.  ServiceOntario phone agents will be able to view the applicants driving record and see if the check has been entered.

The reason for this change is that there is a new law coming into effect (date to be determined) called Bill 113 - Police Record Checks Reform Act 2015.  This Bill requires criminal background check results first be disclosed to the individual who requested the check before the results can be distributed to any other parties.  The Bill has passed first and second reading in the Ontario Legislature, but has not yet been proclaimed into law.  Proclamation is anticipated at some point in 2017.

OSBA has explained to MTO staff that this will cause significant hardship to bus operators by slowing down and further complicating the school bus driver license application and training process, and potentially exacerbating the driver shortage situation.  We continue to work towards several solutions to improve the options available to members, including a request to extend criminal background checks via MTO DriveTest and ServiceOntario centres until Bill 113 is proclaimed into law, however alternatives have yet to be approved by MTO.  OSBA is working with MTO regarding an on-line electronic solution for a criminal background check (above LPI and CRC checks only) to satisfy MTO licencing requirements, but this is in the beginning stages of discussion and if deemed feasible by MTO, may not be available for several months.  The VSC check will still be required in addition to a criminal background check to satisfy most Consortia contracts.  A letter has been sent to MTO Minister Del Duca further detailing OSBA’s concerns and solutions.

As noted above, OSBA has been working with widely known criminal background check service company “Sterling Talent Solutions” to develop a cost and time efficient solution for both MTO and Consortia.  An excellent solution had been developed in 2015 to provide on-line, electronic Vulnerable Sector Checks, however, the Parole Board of Canada stopped accepting requests for electronic background checks of their Pardoned Sex Offender database from companies such as Sterling Talent Solutions.  The Parole Board advised that they would only accept manual applications/requests via local police services.  The Parole Board was challenged on this by Sterling Talent Solutions, a decision has been issued by the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s office, and a reply by the Parole Board is pending by mid-December.

OSBA is continuing to work on behalf of all members.  If you have any comments or feedback, please do not hesitate to contact MTO or OSBA at:  MTO Driver Improvement Office at 416.235.1086 or 1.800.303.4993; OSBA Association Director Michele O’Bright 416.695.9965 Ext. 3 or; OSBA Safety and Legislation Consultant Alex Bugeya at 416.695.9965 Ext. 4 or
OSBA Participates in Ministry of Education - Student Transportation Safety Committee

On November 23, 2016, OSBA participated in a kick-off meeting for the Student Transportation Safety Committee for Addressing the Auditor General’s Recommendations.  The meeting was hosted in Toronto, ON by the Ministry of Education and included representatives from the OSBA Board of Directors and staff (Nick McRae, Tom Jezersek, Kevin Langs, Alex Bugeya) as well as members from the Ministry of Transportation, ISBOA, OASBO and individuals from select individual consortia and school boards.  The committee was formed to focus on the first nine recommendations in the Student Transportation section of the 2015 Auditor General Report.  These nine recommendations are specific to student transportation safety.  

The committee discussions encompassed a number of areas including:

• The evaluation of school bus safety performance through the Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration (CVOR) program and how the school bus industry continues to demonstrate a high level of compliance and safety.  This area of discussion also touched on the existing method by which school bus safety inspections and audits are completed by the Ministry of Transportation and if opportunities for additional efficiencies could be identified.

• What steps could be taken to improve student safety through consortia oversight processes, policies, training and information sharing as well as if a move towards provincial standardization would identify any benefits and what funding mechanisms may be required to support these initiatives.

• The range of information that is obtained and tracked throughout the industry such as school vehicle incidents and collisions and if there is an opportunity to utilize the data to better support the entire student transportation community in reducing the number of incidents and ensuring they are addressed appropriately.

• The potential to increase the effectiveness of student rider/parent training materials and communications through standardization and on-going reviews.

Throughout the day, OSBA had the occasion to speak to the various topics and provide valuable input to support student safety, while ensuring the committee was aware of the on-going issues and challenges facing school bus operators.  In addition, the Ministry of Education was able to utilize an OSBA report and position paper on unruly student behaviour to support some of the discussion.  This OSBA report was compiled from the March 2016 member survey on unruly student behaviour and provided a general summary of member views and experiences on the subject.

While the committee discussions and potential recommendations were preliminary in nature, the overall contributions from the various attendees were positive. For more information on Section 3.13 (Student Transportation) of the 2015 Auditor General Annual Report, it can be viewed at:

For further information or to provide any comments, please contact Alex Bugeya – or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4
NYAPT: Thoughts With Families Of Chattanooga, TN, Bus Crash

Article Source: School Transportation News (US)
Article Date: November 23, 2016


The men and women who are responsible for the safe transportation of more than 2.3 million New York children to and from school each day take very seriously our mission of safety.

We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and our hearts are with the Moms and Dads and families of those children who died in the accident on November 21, 2016. We extend our care and condolences to the schoolmates and school family at Woodmore Elementary School at this very difficult time.

The New York Association for Pupil Transportation wants to take a moment to reassure parents in our state about the safety of the Yellow School Bus and our record of safe transportation here in New York. The yellow school bus is the safest means of getting our children to and from school. National research data shows the school bus to be nearly eight times safer than any other form of transportation, including being driven in a parent’s vehicle.

Our school buses are manufactured with safety in mind. Each of our 50,000 school buses is inspected daily by drivers as well as technicians to ensure their roadworthiness. The buses meet exacting standards set out in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. These are complemented by additional equipment requirements included in the state’s Vehicle and Traffic Law. Each of those school buses is also inspected twice annually by a State Transportation Department inspector and taken out of service if it does not meet specifications.

Our school bus drivers meet high standards and expectations and their training exceeds the federal standards that are set out by the federal government. Our drivers are randomly tested for drug and alcohol usage and are subjected to annual physicals and biennial physical performance tests that determine their capacity to carry out routine safety functions on the school bus. Drivers participate in a 30-hour basic course for school bus drivers as part of their qualification to drive the bus and must attend at least two 2-hour refresher training courses each year. Those courses contain information determined by the State Education Department. In addition, each driver is fingerprinted and undergoes a criminal background check to ensure that they are eligible to drive our children. Their driving record and such information are kept current in files maintained by school bus operators and audited regularly by the State Department of Motor Vehicles.

In New York State we are proud of the work and dedication of high-quality school transportation professionals who oversee and manage operations, train drivers, and attendants, establish safe routes and dispatch buses and drivers daily, maintain and repair the buses and inspect the buses and routes on a regular basis to ensure safety. We are also heartened by the dedication not only of those professionals but of our state agency partners who work side-by-side to improve and enrich our school bus safety measures and efforts.

The Chattanooga accident deeply affects all of us and our hearts are heavy for all involved. Such an incident asks us to review every part of our operation and to look for ways to be even better.

We encourage parents to get to know their School Transportation team and learn more about what they do to ensure your child’s safety.

The New York Association for Pupil Transportation wants our children and their parents and families to know that and to feel assured of their safety each and every day.
2017 Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) - Website is Now Live!

As most members are aware, the Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) is a joint conference and trade show organized each year by representatives from the Ontario Motor Coach Association (OMCA), the Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA) and the Ontario School Bus Association (OBSA) as a unique opportunity for bus company employees, manufacturer/supplier organizations and others related to the bus transportation industry, to get together and explore better ways of serving their transportation customers in the future.

OTE will be taking place at the International Plaza Hotel (rebranding to the new Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto Airport & Conference Centre in early 2017), 655 Dixon Road, Toronto, ON from April 9–12, 2017.  Registration will open January 10, 2017; the website is available now at for more information on the conference and trade show including registration details, sponsorship opportunities, program elements, accommodation as well as exhibitor information.  Some great new features will be implemented next year, so be sure to check back often as updates will be posted on a regular basis including program specifics and speaker biographies.

For further information please contact Alex Bugeya – or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4 or contact OTE directly at 416-229-6622 –
NHTSA School Bus Meeting Seeks 'Road To Zero' Fatalities

Article Source: School Transportation News (Washington, DC)
Article Date: December 1, 2016

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hosted a meeting in Washington, D.C. that discussed the risk factors associated with student transportation services nationwide and that seeks input from industry and vehicle safety stakeholders to identify possible solutions to related injuries and fatalities.

While the feds still say that school buses are the safest mode of transportation to and from school for students, NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind said during opening comments that the agency seeks a "Road to Zero" in terms of annual school bus fatalities both in the bus and at the bus stop. While he leaves the agency on Jan. 20 as the Obama administration transfers to that of President-elect Donald Trump, he provided "two lists of threes" that outline long-term goals for improving school bus safety and targets that can be implemented in the near future.

The National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) and the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) were each represented during the "Thinking Outside the Bus" meeting as were school bus manufacturers Blue Bird, IC Bus and Thomas Built Buses and several other suppliers to the school bus industry. 

Discussions and presentations were centered on innovations and lessons learned in school bus safety technologies such as seat belts, motion detectors on school buses to identify pedestrians at school bus stops, stop-arm violations and new crash avoidance technology available, or soon to be available, from school bus OEMs.

NHTSA also shared information on current projects on school buses and pupil transportation, including the latest data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System on school transportation-related crashes as well as research on stop-arm video enforcement programs run in four states that target illegal passers.

The six-hour meeting was streamed live with recorded playback available on the NHTSA website and on YouTube.
Student Transportation of Canada Gets Into the Holiday Spirit!

Employees from Student Transportation of Canada (STC) highlighted their holiday spirit this past Saturday, Dec. 3 by proudly representing STC in the 2016 Annual Smithville Santa Claus Parade. The chosen theme for this year was peace, hope, and joy around the world – a wonderful and welcome thought at this time and throughout the year!
Is your company planning any holiday activities?  OSBA would appreciate receiving any pictures/stories so we may highlight them here in the newsletter. Please forward to
U.S. Feds Aim to Reduce Consumption With Low Rolling Resistance Tires

Article Source: School Transportation News (US)
Article Date: November 29, 2016

Many school districts apparently have yet to catch on to low rolling resistance tires, or LRRTs, in order to comply with a pending federal mandate to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, if the results of a recent STN survey are any indication.

According to the reader survey conducted in September and October 2016, more than 80 percent of 227 respondents said they did not currently have LRRTs on their buses, even though some indicated that when they purchase new buses, fuel efficiency is a factor in their decision making. The districts’ fleets ranged in size from five to more than 2,000 buses.

Tire makers and school bus manufacturers expressed little surprise at the percentages. “That (80 percent) sounds about right,” said Chris Bantrup, Michelin’s key account manager, adding that the aerodynamics of a school bus work against improving mileage significantly. “When you talk about school buses, you’re basically talking about something that resembles a shoebox. It’s tough to improve the aerodynamics of a shoebox.”

LRRTs are but one of the several technologies suggested by the NHTSA as part of new Phase 2 rules to address environmental concerns, in partnership with the EPA’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. Also included are aerodynamic technologies, tire pressure monitoring systems, idle reduction and retrofit technologies. The new standards are intended to save $1.7 trillion at the pump, reduce the U.S. consumption of oil by 12 billion barrels and cut greenhouse gas emissions by six billion metric tons over the course of the program, according to EPA’s website.

The plan calls for all new school buses to come equipped with LRRTs beginning with the model year 2018. Michelin, Hankook, Goodyear and Continental Tire currently manufacture LRRTs. Continental announced in October 2015 that it would supply all IC Bus models with LRRTs as standard equipment.

Several transportation directors spoken to for this article had little or no knowledge of the capabilities of the LRRTs and exhibited little or no awareness of NHTSA plans.

Bruce Miles is director of government specifications and product validation for Blue Bird. He said Michelin, Hankook and Goodyear LRRTs are available to the OEM’s customers. He added that variety helps districts comply with agreements they have with certain tire companies.

Some industry experts said school districts won’t make the switch to LRRTs until they have to because they don’t want to throw away tires with remaining tread life for even newer, more expensive ones.

Transportation Director George Sontag said his district, Centerville Schools in Ohio, has used LRRTs for several years in concert with other technology. “We experiment with different technologies and if it works we use it,” Sontag said. “We get awful good fuel mileage because we upgrade our engines and rear axle ratio.”

LRRTs originally were developed for line haul trucks that travel cross country. Bautrup said the school bus application could be problematic. “We build tires for school buses that can stand up to starting and stopping, the potential curbing and rural application on gravel roads,” he explained. “What can happen is you will have a tire that would wear out so fast that you create another problem.”

Linda Beale doubles as the transportation supervisor and superintendent’s secretary for the remote Waelder ISD in rural Texas. She said LRRTs are currently installed on three older buses that are used infrequently. Beale said Waelder has several hazardous routes, the most grueling being a 50-mile route on an all-dirt road. She said two buses purchased in 2014 and 2015 will probably be outfitted with the new LRRTs when the regular tires wear out, but she expressed concern about the tires’ durability.

Another requirement called for in Phase 2 is that LRRTs have a tire management system to monitor tire pressure. “It all goes hand in hand to improve fuel efficiency,” said Frank Sonzala, former executive vice president of Pressure Systems International. “School buses get treated the same. When they buy new buses, they must include specifications for rolling resistance tires and a tire management system.”
FMCSA Issues Final Rule On CDL Alcohol, Drug Clearinghouse

Article Source: School Transportation News (Kansas City, MO)
Article Date: December 2, 2016

As promised last month during a school bus industry presentation in Kansas City, Missouri, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a final rule to create a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse for commercial truck and bus drivers.

The purpose is to close any loopholes that allow commercial drivers to conceal previous drug or alcohol violations in order to continue driving or be hired by another carrier. Drivers in violation of drug and alcohol rules will remain in the database for five years or until they complete their return-to-duty requirements.

It also clarifies that no employer may allow a driver to operate a commercial vehicle if he or she is subject to any of the prohibitions in 49 CFR part 382, subpart B. Among others, these prohibitions specifically include drivers the employer has actual knowledge of using controlled substances, engaging in on-duty or pre-duty alcohol use or using alcohol prior to taking a post-accident test.

Motor carriers, medical review officers, third-party administrators and substance abuse professionals will be required to report commercial drivers who have either tested positive for drugs or have a blood-alcohol content of 0.04 or greater, have refused to take a test or are undergoing the return-to-duty rehabilitation process.

Employers will also be required to search the clearinghouse as part of their hiring practices and at least once a year to ensure current employees are not listed. Per the Privacy Act of 1974, a driver must grant consent before an employer can request access to that driver’s clearinghouse record and before FMCSA can release the driver’s clearinghouse record to an employer. After registering with the clearinghouse, a driver can review his or her information at no cost.

Drivers will be identified in the clearinghouse by their CDL number and state of issuance. The rule also governs commercial drivers and carriers in Mexico and Canada that are required to obtain a USDOT number.

The FMCSA estimates the clearinghouse will provide about $196 million in annual benefits from reduced crashes while costing about $154 million a year to administer, for a net benefit of $42 million annually.

"This is a major safety win for the general public and the entire commercial motor vehicle industry," said FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling. "The clearinghouse will allow carriers across the country to identify current and prospective drivers who have tested positive for drugs or alcohol, and employ those who drive drug and alcohol-free. Drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol will no longer be able to conceal those test results from employers and continue to drive while posing a safety risk to the driving public."

The final rule also includes safeguards to protect commercial drivers in the case of inaccurate report submissions and tests, including challenges and petitions for removal.

The final rule will go into effect within 30 days of being published in the Federal Register. Compliance is due by Jan. 6, 2020.

The clearinghouse is mandated by section 32402 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21.
Prepping School Buses For Winter Weather - A Year-Round Affair

Article Source: School Transportation News (Iowa)
Article Date: November 29, 2016

Preparing bus fleets for equipment-abusing slush, snow, salt and cold are more than just a matter of being in the moment. Due to this, transportation directors often begin their winter preparations years in advance.

Daniel Schultz, transportation director for the Southeast Polk School District in Iowa, said his garage crew starts its winter maintenance activities during the summer months. But the real first steps begin during the bidding process when Southeast Polk orders double-pane windows and undercoat rust protection.

“One of the things we do when ordering buses is look to prevent problems,” he said. “We try to prepare all our buses by ordering them with winter in mind. Because our replacement schedule is 18 years, we’re always looking far down the road to try to make them last and I’m trying to make sure they’re functional that long.”

School bus manufacturers are answering the call when it comes to rust. Three years ago, Arrowhead Steel Co. began supplying IC Bus with a specially treated steel for the manufacturer’s redesigned driver platform. 

Thomas Built Buses includes four levels of corrosion protection treatments inside, outside and underneath the bus with its FleetShield solutions. Blue Bird Armor Coating protects the undercarriage as well as exterior components, like steel bumpers and fuel tanks.

“We have been preparing for winter all summer,” Schultz said. “We’re checking tires to make sure they have plenty of tread that will last through the winter. Our monthly inspections add certain things for certain times of the year. Tires, batteries, and heater motors will get extra check-outs. We don’t schedule heater motor replacements—they run until fail—but you’ll hear the bearings before they give out and they get replaced right away.”

When temperatures drop to zero, the Southeast Polk crew arrives early to double check breakers and make sure block heaters are working. In addition to some fall maintenance on the Webasto fuel heaters in its 163 buses, the Adams 12 Five Star team also double checks that timers are set to start the heaters at 4 a.m. on cold days. And for those “really bad, below-zero” days, the district presses block heaters into action.

Winter preparation is a year-round event at the Thornton, Colorado, district. But, its ace in the hole is a brushless washer system installed when the district built a state-of-the-art bus facility in 2010.

“The salt and (magnesium chloride) they use on the roads are very harmful to brakes and undercarriages,” Anderson said. “It eats through components and air valves. Up to five years ago, we didn’t have anything that could really get hot water up under the buses. I really insisted that we have two undercarriage sprayers to really knock that gunk off. It’s amazing how much work it saves. Before, we were having brake chambers literally eaten up by road salt and all that has been eliminated. Now that we have (the washer system), I can’t imagine being without it.”
Upcoming Events

Jan. 15-20 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program - SOLD OUT
Jan. 22-27 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program - SOLD OUT
Jan. 25 OSBA Webinar
Feb. 2 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Mar. 2 OSBA Webinar
Mar. 12-17 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program - SOLD OUT
Apr. 9-12 2017 Ontario Transportation Expo – Conference and Trade Show
Apr. 27 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
May 1-5 Alberta Student Transportation Advisory Council (ASTAC) Convention
May 7-12 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
May 17 OSBA Webinar
June 21 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
July 9-14 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Aug. 12 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Aug. 13-18 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Oct. 15-20 Professional Instructor in Driver Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program
Oct. 16-20 National School Bus Safety Week
Oct. 25 OSBA Webinar
Oct. 26 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
Dec. 6 P.R.I.D.E. Recertification Program
May 13-16 Canadian Pupil Transportation Conference (CPTC)
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.

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