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Holy Trinity busing 70 more kids this year due to enrolment growth

Catholic trustees discussed the 2022-23 transportation report during their March meeting.

Holy Trinity Catholic School Division appears to be having an easier time recruiting new regular and spare bus drivers than other school divisions, according to a new report.

From Sept. 1, 2022 to Feb. 28, 2023, the division actively recruited people to fill empty positions on the big yellow vehicles, a board report explained. Holy Trinity successfully hired two people to work as spare bus operators during that time. It later trained one driver to provide dispatch coverage and monitor live tracking of buses using GPS.

“That’s a significant issue for a number of other school divisions,” CFO Curt Van Parys said during the March board meeting while discussing the 2022-23 transportation report.

“But I think the relationships that our transportation officer, Mr. (Gerry) Turcotte has with the bus drivers has led to us being in a pretty position in terms of having capacity for having people who drive our bus every day,” he continued. “(That) doesn’t necessarily happen in other school divisions on a consistent basis.”

Van Parys also reviewed other highlights from the transportation report.

The division transported 1,192 pupils by bus during the first half of the school year, which is 70 kids more than the previous school year, the report showed. Van Parys noted that this isn’t surprising, considering Holy Trinity also saw similar enrolment growth this year. 

The addition of nearly 100 more kids on buses means the capacity used on those vehicles is roughly 88.8 per cent. Van Parys indicated that’s great news compared to other school divisions, which would likely raise their eyebrows at that statistic.

Holy Trinity had 28 bus routes around Moose Jaw North from September to February, with those buses travelling an average of 264.1 kilometres per day, the report said. The average run-time ride was 27.5 minutes, while the longest one-way ride time was 35 minutes. 

Seventy bus runs — two runs equal one route — were cancelled in Moose Jaw during that time because of the weather, while the division’s partners — Chinook in Swift Current and Prairie South for South Hill — also cancelled 232 runs and 217 runs, respectively, during that time because of weather, the report said.

Meanwhile, the average age of regular buses is five years old and the average age of the spare fleet is 6.5 years old. 

The next Holy Trinity board meeting is Monday, April 17. 

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