Parents unhappy with shift in bus routes

Yukon Education's new bus routes are still causing headaches for Whitehorse parents. The department announced the new routes last Friday after it held an emergency public meeting with upset parents.

Yukon Education’s new bus routes are still causing headaches for Whitehorse parents.

The department announced the new routes last Friday after it held an emergency public meeting with upset parents.

Since the beginning of the school year, the department has been flooded with complaints stemming from changes made to bus routes over the summer.

At last Wednesday’s meeting, over 20 separate issues were raised ranging from problems with the registration process to children riding past their schools on their way to transfer stations.

The new routes, which were implemented on Monday, were supposed to be improvements over the old ones.

But they aren’t passing muster with some parents.

“The department said there would only be a 10-minute or less wait at the transfer station and now it’s over 15 minutes,” said Ann-Marie Stockley, whose family lives on the Mayo Road.

Stockley attended last week’s meeting. She was part of a group of 20 parents who wrote to Education Minister Elaine Taylor last year to voice concerns about school bus routes and schedules for families whose children attended Porter Creek Secondary, Holy Family Elementary and Hidden Valley Elementary schools.

“At the meeting last week the department said they would go back to the old routes,” Stockley told the News yesterday.

“They are not even close. My kids are on the bus 37 minutes earlier.”

On a Facebook group named Concerns With Whitehorse School Buses, other parents were also unhappy with the changes.

“My kids’ bus ride got longer and now they arrive at school late and miss out on playing and socializing with their friends before school starts,” said Jen Collon. “They arrive (if the bus is on time) after the bell.”

This year in Whitehorse, 40 school buses bring students to 15 different schools. But in the Mayo Road area alone, approximately 150 kids are bused to 10 different schools.

Deputy Minister Valerie Royle said the department will continue to improve bus routes throughout the school year as families move around.

She said there were fewer complaints from parents this week.

“So far, so good,” she said about the new changes.

“We’ll have some new routes ready on Friday for Monday. We’re dealing with issues as they come. There are fewer (school bus) registrations but they’re still coming in, we had over 50 between Monday and Tuesday.”

The department asked parents to review new bus routes and register their children online in June. By the end of that month 1,253 students had been registered.

But 700 late registrations were made since the beginning of the new school year, overwhelming the department.

Updates are available at the department’s website.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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