Shortage of drivers: Lac-Beauport families deprived of school transport

Shortage of drivers: Lac-Beauport families deprived of school transport

UPDATE DAY

The shortage of bus drivers continues to be a major headache for families in the Quebec region. In Lac-Beauport, students deprived of school transportation will have to wait a few more weeks before boarding a yellow bus. 

Stéphanie Jacques is the mother of a 16-year-old girl who attends Le Sommet high school in Charlesbourg. After a few sporadic breaks in service since the start of the school year, the family learned on October 7 that school transportation will no longer be available “for an indefinite period morning and evening due to a shortage of drivers”, can we read in an email sent by the Première-Seigneuries school service center. 

The break in service also affects students who attend Montagnac Elementary School, in Lac-Beauport. 

For two weeks, the daily life of Mrs. Jacques and her daughter has been completely turned upside down. Public transport does not allow the teenager to get to school, which is too far to walk there.  

Stéphanie Jacques, who is a single parent, will therefore drive her daughter to school evening and morning. Since her working day often starts early, the teenager sometimes finds herself in front of the school as early as 7:15 a.m., while her lessons do not start until two hours later. The teenager must then wait outside until the doors of the secondary school open at 8 a.m.   

“It’s completely demotivating for her. My daughter even mentioned the possibility of stopping going to school because it's too complicated to get there,” says Ms. Jacques. 

The resumption of service cannot not be done for another two weeks, the school service center told him.

At Autobus Laval, which provides service on this route, it is explained that the break in service was caused by the departure of a bus driver, who left his job to do substitute work in a secondary school. 

Other drivers have been hired recently, but their training has been slowed down by COVID-19 since the person in charge has contracted the virus, explains the director of human resources, Josiane Faucher.&nbsp ;

The latter is sorry for the inconvenience caused to the families. “We'll tell each other, it's embarrassing. But recruiting has become a big challenge. It's even the first time we've had service failures since the company was founded in 1961,” she says. 

This carrier is not the only one in this situation. At Autobus Québec Métro 2000, two drivers are currently missing. “We have never had so much difficulty hiring,” says its director, Steve Aubut. 

However, it was impossible to know how many students are currently deprived of school transportation. The Première-Seigneuries service center refuses to transmit this information since this data fluctuates from day to day, it is indicated. 

In an email sent to the parents concerned last Friday, the center service indicates, however, that “compensation terms that could apply in situations of prolonged transport breakdown” are currently under study.