I will begin by stating that I am not complaining. I am not complaining because quite frankly, I am lazy and I selfishly love when the kids have a “snow day”. That means I get to sleep in a little. Plus, since my office is located at the front of my home, I get to enjoy the kids a few more precious hours that day. I love the noisy house and thankfully, my clients are quite understanding.
But that’s me.
I know a lot of parents who are not in my situation and who have to literally move heaven and earth to make alternate arrangements when buses are canceled. And when they do all this without a drop of ice rain nor a snowflake in sight, with dry roads conditions and even sunshine peeking through, as we had Tuesday, it gets understandably quite frustrating.
“The decision to cancel busing is not taken lightly,” explained Ron Cotnam, STEO’s General Manager and Chief Administrative Officer in a November press release sent to the Seeker. “It’s based on careful analysis of several factors, from up-to-date weather forecasts, to information from bus drivers who check roads on mornings when problem weather is expected.” Safety first, right?
Perhaps the motivation behind this extreme caution IS the well-being of students, drivers and the public, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was more to it than meets the eye.
Here’s my theory: It’s about safety yes and no. It’s also about protecting the businesses providing the services from liability and insurance increase. People are so quick to sue nowadays that STEO probably simply cannot risk any incidents happening. Insurance is already a huge cost and we all know that expense goes up with every accident.
Of course, nobody will openly admit to this, but isn’t it a possibility as to why STEO we see bus cancellations on days like Tuesday despise the lack of weather advisory? The entire area is divided in 18 sectors so why ground buses across the board when areas are not affected? From my understanding, there is only a certain amount of days allocated for cancellations throughout the school year and being too cautious sometimes results in buses being grounded when it’s dry or dispatched when it’s slippery, resulting in the very thing we’re trying to avoid in the first place.
I don’t know what the root cause is and I get it–no matter what decision they take, there will always be people complaining, but in my experience, the bottom line always has a financial aspect attached to it. If not, and if it’s truly about keeping people safe, then maybe it’s time to review the process? What do you think?
To read the entire press release about STEO’s inclement weather procedure visit: https://www.steo.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/ 11/Inclement-Weather-Nov-2016.pdf