What’s up with these late buses in the greater Kingston area?
To start, late buses are more prevalent during the first few weeks of the school year as drivers, families, and schools get used to a new routine. Normally, timing becomes streamlined as new drivers and riders learn the ropes and congestion in school loading zones lightens. However, the Kingston area has had far more (and greater) school bus delays this month than other areas in Tri-Board’s jurisdiction causing a lot of frustration for school communities –and rightly so!
The main cause of these delays boils down to a word and a number: Highway 15! Recently there have been as many as six construction sites on Highway 15 between Joyceville and Highway 2 stopping, delaying, or slowing traffic. One of these is the long-term construction project at Gore Road and Highway 15 related to Kingston’s Third Crossing.
Why does construction in this area have such a huge impact on the rest of Kingston? Because most buses are what we call “double runs,” meaning the bus picks up students for one school, drops them off, and immediately begins picking up for a different school. For example, a bus could complete one run to LaSalle Secondary and go on to complete its second run to St. Francis of Assisi CS or Glenburnie PS.
We know the answer may seem as simple as adding in more buses so there are no more double runs. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to do this. Tri-Board receives funding from the school boards we service, and routes are planned to make the most efficient use of limited resources. School buses are a twelve-year investment for bus companies and skilled drivers are increasingly scarce in Ontario. Planning for irregular traffic events like construction or collisions when designing routes would create excessive and unnecessary costs. Re-routing in year is also highly disruptive for families, especially for construction that should be complete soon. The city of Kingston has indicated as early as next week.
Predictable transportation is something we all value and Tri-Board understands the frustration coming from our school communities in Kingston during this construction blitz. While we continue to adjust routes where we can with limited resources, we ask for your patience. Please be kind to drivers and transportation staff responding to your concerns. They too are looking forward to the day Highway 15 traffic can flow smoothly and the Third Crossing is complete.