School bus drop-offs cancelled for some Halifax-area students

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School bus drop-offs cancelled for some Halifax-area students

Some parents in Fletchers Lake, N.S., are upset about changes to school bus schedules, including one that would see a six-year-old dropped a kilometre away from her home.

Amanda Castle told CBC News as of Monday, Stock Transportation stopped dropping off her daughter, a student at Holland Road Elementary School, at an intersection at the end of the family's driveway on Brooke Street. Fletchers Lake is about 35 kilometres outside of Halifax.

From now on, the six-year-old will be dropped off about one kilometre away, Castle said.

The changes were prompted by the Nova Scotia Motor Carrier Act, which allows school buses a maximum of three stops in a 1.6-kilometre span, she said.

"I'd like to see somebody actually come out and walk the routes, drive the routes and then decide where the stops need to be moved," she said.

"If they are only allowed to stop three times in the 1.6 [kilometres], don't Google Map it and just pick points."

Stock Transportation says the students at the Brook Street stop are courtesy riders — students who live within walking distance of their school but are allowed to ride on buses with empty seats.

"While we do our very best to accommodate courtesy riders whenever possible, eligible students remain our first priority," the bus company said in a statement.

"The morning route can accommodate courtesy riders at this stop. However, the afternoon route is different than the morning route, and therefore does not allow for students to be dropped at that stop."

In order to be eligible for bus transportation, students in grades Primary to 6 must live outside a 2.4-kilometre range of the school.

Castle said there are no sidewalks in her neighbourhood and she is worried about the safety of her daughter and other young children.

"It affects me, it affects others in my community. I have no way of getting my daughter home safely."

In September, Halifax Regional School Board said it's cutting down on the number of seats available to courtesy riders. The board estimated anywhere from several dozen to 100 students could be affected.