PETERBOROUGH, ON, March 6, 2013 /CNW/ - Local school bus businesses from
central and eastern Ontario will be in Peterborough Friday at the
constituency office of Jeff Leal to welcome him to his portfolio as
Minister of Rural Affairs. School bus operators have organized a rally
for 10:30 to 11:30 am, on Friday March 8th and will be circling downtown with as many as 40 school buses.
The Independent School Bus Operators Association (ISBOA) represents
companies across the province whose businesses are being threatened.
In the past 3 years, as many as 30 school bus companies have been wiped
out by new procurement rules. According to ISBOA President Steve
Hull, "If Premier Wynne wants to show that she understands rural
Ontario and small business, she can start by undoing the damage the
Liberal government has done to school bussing."
A 2012 Task Force into school bus contracting recommended an independent
review of how school bus routes are awarded. Dalton McGuinty's
Liberals ignored that report. Instead, the Ministry of Education
continues to pressure school boards to use a procurement process that
would create local monopolies. Currently 24 small business owners have
been forced to take their only customer to court to get a fair hearing
of the legality and appropriateness of RFP's for this industry.
Injunctions have stopped 7 RFP from proceeding. A full trial will take
place in June 2013 in Kingston.
Student Transportation Services of Central Ontario (STSCO) issued an RFP
in late 2012 but agreed to suspend it until the outcome of the court
The Independent School Bus Operators Association (ISBOA) is warning
school officials and parents alike that Queen's Park is jeopardizing
safe, competitive, and sustainable school bus operations. In the short
run, service will suffer. In the long run, rates will skyrocket. In
other parts of Ontario where RFPs have already proceeded, safety is no
longer the primary consideration. Companies with poor safety ratings
are being awarded routes.
According to ISBOA Director Frank Healey, a school bus operator from
Smiths Falls and a plaintiff in the law suit that will be heard in June
in Kingston, the Ministry of Education has failed to do the local
market assessment required by the Broader Public Sector Accountability
Act (BPSAA). "That's the irony of the whole exercise," explains
Healey. "Competitive tendering, when applied to school bussing, will
virtually eliminate the competition that already exists."
The Independent School Bus Operators Association (ISBOA) represents over
100 school bus companies, servicing over 2000 school bus routes across
the province. ISBOA has a website (www.isboa.ca) for advocacy and information. ISBOA's goal is to involve the public
and local trustees in the struggle to preserve competitive rates and
funding for safety in student transportation.
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/03/06/20130306_C2833_DOC_EN_24349.pdf
SOURCE: Independent School Bus Operators Association
For further information:
Contact - Karen Cameron