A lot of time and effort goes into cancelling school buses for the day in a process that starts well before the snow does.
“The process usually starts the day before, when we’re monitoring the weather,” says Sean Levasseur of the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium, “by about 2:00 in the afternoon, we’ve triggered a snow call for the next day.”
If the forecast warrants a snow call by the afternoon, Levasseur says a team of snow captains made up of bus company officials hit the road first thing the next morning. “Usually the snow captains around Simcoe County travel the roads between 3:00 and 5:00 am,” says Levasseur “They head into the office at 5:00, and are generally calling their safety officers to check a pocket of roads, township people, plow operators and gather all that data together, and then we have a conference call at 5:30 in the morning,”
“They decide at that point in time whether it is safe to run or not,” Levasseur added.
All this homework is necessary, as Levasseur points out once the buses hit the road, that’s it. “Once the buses are started and doing their routes, we follow through,” says Levasseur, “we try to get that message out, obviously, we know that families need to make plans for having students home.”
“For us to return buses early in the day, and return students home, as you can well imagine, with 36,000 students transported daily on 750 vehicles, to try to have schools notify families we’re sending students home at an earlier hour, would be tremendously difficult. Logistically, it just doesn’t work.” pointed out Lavasseur, “if we’re cancelling in the morning, we’re cancelling the afternoon. If we’re running in the morning, we’re running in the afternoon.”