Southland Transportation is apologizing to families in the Lethbridge and Holy Spirit Catholic school divisions after some major busing hiccups.
A number of parents told Global News their kids have been picked up late, to the point of missing their first classes or to being dropped off early with no one home.
A post put on the Global Lethbridge Facebook page had more than 85 comments as of 4 p.m. on Thursday with parents sharing their experiences.
Southland Transportation took over the busing contract this summer after the City of Lethbridge chose not to renew a contract that had seen it provide busing services for the school divisions.
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The city’s decision to not renew the contract was among recommendations made in an independent operational review citing liability concerns.
The Lethbridge School Division issued a statement Thursday to address parents’ concerns and said it hopes Southland’s real-time bus tracking app is ready soon.
“Lethbridge School Division takes the busing concerns expressed by Lethbridge families very seriously, and the division is working with Southland Transportation Ltd. to rectify the concerns as soon as possible,” communications officer Garret Simmons said.
“When we have further information on solutions, we will ensure parents are notified in a timely matter.”
Southland said it is working through a revised routing and incremental resource plan in order to alleviate the situation, which will be shared in the next few days with timelines.
“Southland recognizes that the start of this school year has come with challenges that are impacting our routes, resulting in unexpected delays in the morning and afternoon,” regional director Craig Loose said in a statement. “This is the result of several changes implemented for the 2021-2022 school year.
“We have experienced setbacks in implementing new systems, which has unfortunately impacted on-time service for some of our routes.
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Loose added the company is working with the school divisions to create an action plan in an effort to minimize disruptions going forward. He said the plan will be available in the coming days.
“As we work through rectifying this situation, delays will be posted appropriately and in a timely fashion,” he said. “We thank parents/guardians for their patience and understanding.”
Loose added the goal and commitment of Southland is to provide safe and reliable transportation for students.
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