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Ottawa school bus parent portal opens with no bus ride for 9,000 students

There is relief and frustration in households across Ottawa, as parents learn whether or not their child has a school bus ride to school for the new school year.

The Ottawa Student Transportation Authority opened the Parent Portal on Wednesday, with information for parents on school bus routes for Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and Ottawa Catholic School Board schools this fall.

The transportation authority has warned it’s short 130 drivers, and approximately 9,000 students are without school bus service for the start of the school year.

“Absolutely frustrating,” said one parent in an email to CTV News Ottawa Wednesday morning, noting their children in rural Ottawa do not have school bus service.

“We would have hoped these teens who have no access to OC Transpo, Uber, Taxi service etc. would be prioritized over those schools who do have access to transportation.”

Parents can check information about school bus routes on the OSTA website’s Parent Portal.

Families who do not have transportation on a yellow bus this fall due to long-term cancellations as a result of the driver shortage will receive Single Ride Vouchers for OC Transpo. The OSTA says the vouchers for families in the Urban Transit Area will allow a young person and a guardian to use OC Transpo to get to and from school every day.

Parents and guardians can submit an application, and the Single Ride Vouchers will be sent to schools every two weeks.

Meantime, many Grades 7 to 12 students will be assigned to take OC Transpo to school instead of a school bus. Eligible students will receive a free Presto School Boarding Pass, valid from the beginning of September until June 30.

Ottawa Student Transportation Authority chief administrative officer Vicky Kyriaco told CTV News Ottawa on Tuesday that it “is going to be a bumpy start” to the school year.

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