Minto supports local bus operators

Like others in Wellington County, councillors here are supporting a resolution backing small local bus operations and their employees in Ontario.

A resolution of council reads that Minto will voice its concerns to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario pertaining to local school bus operators in Ontario.

The resolution states that a request for proposal (RFP) process is causing hardship to small, local school bus operators and their employees.

The resolution adds that school bus runs have been awarded to large multi-national companies.

Further, it states, “The Ministry of Education is using local property taxes to aid in the growth of multinational school bus operations which, in turn, affect small local companies and their employees.”

Mayor David Anderson said one of the things the Upper Grand District School Board has is a subcommittee and consortium that is responsible for student transportation. That group is considering a number of services as part of its $2-million deficit budget.

“They are trying to find ways and means of cutting those costs.”

That, he said, is one of those means. The idea was to take 25% of the runs and put them to a bidding process.

“The larger corporations have been able to underbid the local contractors,” Anderson said. “One of the things I really believe is that the school bus drivers will remain local. Whoever the companies are will still need to have local drivers.”

However, it is taking away the ability of local companies to compete, he said.

“But on the other hand, it does make it more competitive so that if local companies wish to compete, they may have to sharpen their pencils a little bit.”

He noted the Minister of Education has put a moratorium on offering additional routes to private corporations until January 2010 “but after that, it’s going to open it up again.”

He said the concerns have been brought up by a number of local bus drivers.

Anderson noted that Wellington North has already endorsed the resolution.