News / Calgary

CBE students walk four times farther than other school boards

The Calgary Board of Education recommends a maximum distance from a child’s home to the bus stop be 1.6 km for elementary students

The Calgary Board of Education has the longest maximum recommended distance from a child’s home to their school bus of the four major school boards in Calgary and Edmonton.

Metro File Photo

The Calgary Board of Education has the longest maximum recommended distance from a child’s home to their school bus of the four major school boards in Calgary and Edmonton.

The Calgary Board of Education has the longest maximum recommended walk distance to a bus stop of the four metro school boards in Calgary and Edmonton, Metro News has learned.

The Edmonton Public School Board recommends a maximum distance from a child’s home to the bus stop to be 400 metres. They said their average distance is an estimated 200 metres.

The Edmonton Catholic School District recommends a maximum distance from a child’s home to the bus stop to be 400 metres. They said their average distance is an estimated 47 metres.

The Calgary Catholic School District recommends a maximum distance from a child’s home to the bus stop be 800 metres. They said their average distance is an estimated 400 metres.

The Calgary Board of Education recommends a maximum distance from a child’s home to the bus stop be 1.6 km for elementary students, and 1.8 km for junior high and high school students. Officials said they are unable to provide an average distance at this time.

All school boards fall under the recommended maximum distance of 2.4 km set by the province.

Carrie Edwards, director of planning and transportation with the CBE, said there are a number of factors that go into planning their routes, the biggest being the amount of registrations they receive. The CBE has the most students of any of the four major metro school boards. Other factors include the complexity of the city layout, parents deciding not to sent their child to their designated school and students attending an overflow school if their community-designated school is full.

She said the funding from the province does not fulfill all their needs.

“Yes we are funded, but the level of service we provide is significantly over and above what that dollar provision gives us,” Edwards said, pointing out provincial funding does not cover students who attend alternative programs or midday kindergarten buses.

Edwards also said her understanding is Calgary Catholic and Edmonton Public make more use of transit.

Fraser Methuen, acting manager of student transportation for Edmonton Public, said the Edmonton Transit System (ETS) is their preferred means of service for junior high and high school kids.

“We try to mimic ETS stops wherever we can, we try to put student stops at ETS bus stops,” he said. “That isn’t always practical, but the reason we do that is because we’re a cold weather city, like Calgary, and ETS bus stops are cleaned of snow. So that helps get our kids accessibility to yellow buses.”

He said they also ask students who are ineligible for transportation to their school - for example if they attend a French immersion school outside of their area - to pay a fee and possibly walk a longer distance. In some cases, it could be as far as 1.6 km, but he said that is an unusual, additional service they offer.

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