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WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition is requesting the Liberal government prioritize school bus driver testing exams. The Yukon Party has brought this issue to the floor of the legislature twice this Fall after hearing the school bus contractor has two drivers ready for the road, but both cannot get the required final road test until December.
Schools and parents are frequently dealing with school bus cancellations due to a variety of factors including a lack of drivers. Even the Minister has admitted that there is a driver shortage, but the government continues to dodge committing to getting available school bus drivers tested and licensed
“Yukon students should be arriving at school ready to learn each day and school bus cancellations put a lot of extra pressure each morning on parents, students, and educators,” said Porter Creek North MLA Geraldine Van Bibber. “We know there is a shortage of school bus drivers, but two people who are close to getting licensed are being told it is a six-week wait for Motor Vehicles to administer the final test. This is frustrating for everyone involved. The government must find a way to expedite school bus driver tests so we can get more school bus drivers behind the wheel.”
The government could look at a variety of solutions including authorizing overtime for training, bumping the school bus driver tests to the front of the schedule, or examine options to get the testing done outside of the territory.
The Yukon Party is also asking the Minister to request the department review communications surrounding such cancellations. The texting app and social media notifications do not always reach the parents in time, and sometimes their kids are at the bus stop waiting for a bus that has been cancelled. An app we asked about last Fall would provide real-time tracking of buses for parents. The City of Whitehorse uses similar technology that enables riders to track City buses in real-time.