Recently, the province made an announcement on their plan to make school transportation affordable for families. The government said it will be investing $414 million to extend the distance of school bus routes to help children get to school safer and make it more affordable for families.
Norma Lang, Chair of the Rockyview School Board of Trustees underlined that the Rockyview School Division will not be seeing many changes as the district already has a bigger radius, from which they pick up students. However, she did say the announcement is welcome as it will help to ensure that transportation costs are kept down.
“We will see an increase from what we had last year, which was $13.6 million, up to $17.5 million for next year. That is a significant increase and we're thrilled about that.’’ Lang said.
The province has stated that in most areas, the current regulations with regard to transport are that if a student is 2.4 km or less away from the school they are attending, they are not eligible to take school transit. The investment will allow students that are enrolled in kindergarten to Grade 6, to also be eligible for school transit if they live a kilometre or more away. Students in Grades seven to 12 will be eligible for school transportation if they live within a 2 km radius starting September 1, 2024.
Currently, about 300,000 Alberta students use school transportation to get to school, but with these changes close to 80,000 students province-wide will be added to the bus routes. This new funding will reduce rural ride times by 9 per cent.
There will also be up to 350 new job opportunities which will help unemployed Albertans after they go through the proper driver training.
Provincial statistics cite that up to 42 per cent of students in Alberta take transit to school every day so school transit is a key component in their everyday life.
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