| Oct 16, 2008

Oct 16/08 - School Bus Drivers Concerned About Contracts

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Feature Article - October 16, 2008 School Bus Drivers Concerned Over contracts

Mimi Antoine is like many other school bus operators in rural Frontenac County. She has operated a single bus since the ’80s, and has owned her bus since 1992. When she bought her bus it came with the route.The bus would have had no value without the route.

Now a provincial initiative threatens to eliminate the practice of selling buses and routes in favour of a competitive procurement system.

Mimi Antoine sent a letter to Central Frontenac Council this week, outlining her concerns, concerns that havealso been expressed by smaller bus companies in North Frontenac about the new provincial request for a proposal process.

The process could see operators bidding for the school bus routes they have been covering for years. Drivers fear that large operators such as Laidlaw Incorporated would bid on entire regions and put them out of business

“The RFP process will render my operation of NO VALUE. There are other small operators in the same position and this market place will be flooded with depreciated vehicles,” Antoine wrote.

“The backbone of our government has traditionally been the local entrepreneur and small businesses, employing locally and spending in our community. I feel that our system has merit. I urge you to help us maintain our local transportation system.”

The Tri-board Bus Service serves the Limestone and Prince Edward District school boards as well as the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic School Board. Its operators range from single operators, to mid-range companies with 30 to 40 buses.

It is the bus routes of these larger companies that might be particularly interesting to larger, multi-national corporations who will answer the RFPs.

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