News / Ottawa

Ottawa school bus authority caught off guard by snowfall

The decision to operate as normal was made before heavy snow got started Wednesday morning.

School buses were out on the road Wednesday, despite the heavy snow fall.

Metroland File Photo

School buses were out on the road Wednesday, despite the heavy snow fall.

School buses were caught up in an unexpectedly heavy snowstorm Wednesday morning, as the capital region was once again hammered with snow. 



Many on social media questioned why buses were on the road during the morning commute. 



Vicky Kyriaco, general manager of the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority, said they don’t take the decision lightly and rely on a lot of information to decide if buses should run. 

She said when they made the decision before 5:30 a.m. it didn't appear the snow would be as severe. 


“It was only supposed to be two maybe three centimetres during our service time,” she said. “We decided just to proceed with service as usual, and so it was a complete surprise at 6:00 or 6:30 when the snow really started to start coming down.”


There was one minor fender bender involving a school bus, but Kyriaco said the vehicles are equipped to handle weather like Wednesday morning. 


“School buses can drive on snow — that is not as big an issue as freezing rain,” she said.  


The city’s director of road service, Luc Gagne, said the recent snowfalls are keeping the city busy. 


“Things went fairly well considering it’s basically snowed since yesterday afternoon,” he said. “As we were going around, snow would come down and accumulate behind us.”


Gagne said right now the city’s focus is on keeping roads clear, but if the snow stops falling they should be able to do more.

“During an event all you can do is maintain and you need a day or two to get everything to bare-road standards.”

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