A number of factors are considered before buses are cancelled

With another winter storm blanketing the region, Durham Student Transportation Services is making an effort to clarify its policy surrounding bus cancellations.

“The cancellation of school bus service is a decision that is made in cooperation with information and advice from many local service providers. Starting as early as 4:30 a.m., Durham Student Transportation Services (DSTS) is in contact with the following groups: road crews for Uxbridge, Brock and Scugog Townships, weather watchers in various parts of Durham Region along with representatives from the school bus companies,” reads a notice on the DSTS website.

“Between 4:30 and 6:00 a.m., the group monitors the weather and road conditions closely. Ongoing updates are forwarded to DSTS during this time period. Weather stations, TV and radio stations are consulted for current weather forecasts and ongoing updates. Before 6:00 a.m., DSTS reviews the information gathered and determines if the road conditions may warrant cancellation of the school bus service. DSTS then contacts representatives from both the Durham Catholic and Durham District School Boards with a recommendation.”

There are three possible outcomes — school bus service will operate, school bus service is cancelled or school bus service is cancelled by particular zones.

Zone 1 encompasses Brock Township, while zones 2 and 3 cover Uxbridge and Scugog, respectively. The south end of Durham is Zone 4.

“The terrain and weather conditions change north of the Oak Ridges Moraine (the Ridges). Often weather conditions are more severe across the northern portion of Durham. The school bus routes for Brock, Uxbridge, and Scugog are: longer in length, travel on roads with posted speeds of 80 km/hr and require travel on concession roads that can remain unplowed and/or unsalted until later in the day after the major arterial roads have been plowed and/or salted. The response time can differ greatly from township to township thus new Weather Zones have been established and will provide a clear and effective way to communicate DSTS service cancelations or alterations,” the notice reads.

“Southern areas of Durham Region, the major arterial roads are plowed to accommodate commuters, and typically have larger volumes of traffic. The school bus routes in these areas are: shorter in length and travel on roads with posted speeds of 50 km/hr, and as a result DSTS service cancellations may not be required even if cancellations occur in other zones.”

Even if buses are cancelled, schools remain open in most cases.

“If school buses are cancelled, it is for the entire day regardless of what happens to the weather during the day. Please note, if parents drop-off their children at school in the morning, they are responsible to pick them up at the end of the day when school bus service is cancelled,” the notice reads.

For more information on DSTS and bus cancellations, click HERE.

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