School bus service in Terrace and area was disrupted this afternoon after a number of drivers walked off the job.

School bussing disrupted in Terrace, B.C.

Current bussing company about to lose its contract

Hundreds of Terrace and area public school bus students are arriving home later that usual today after a number of bus drivers briefly walked off the job.

Principals learned of the walkout moments before dismissal and were telling students to call their parents for rides home if they could amidst reports that only three drivers were working.

“We’ll make it work,” said Skeena Middle School principal Phil Barron, who was organizing students onto two busses that had pulled up in front of the school earlier this afternoon.

The report of the walkout follows news that the current bus service provider, First Canada, has lost its contract to another company, Diversified Transport.

That change over is to take place June 30 and it’s unknown as to how this may affect current employees of First Canada which has had the contract for the past three decades.

Carole Gagnon, the executive assistant to the senior administrators at the Coast Mountains School District, said the incident was an internal one affecting First Canada.

“We understand it has now been resolved,” she said this afternoon.

Students experienced a bussing delay of approximately one hour, Gagnon added.

The school district’s new contract with Diversified is worth about $10.5 million for a five-year term and there is an option to renew, said school district secretary treasurer Alanna Cameron.

Four companies responded to a request for proposals issued by the school district but only two, First Canada and Diversified Transport, submitted formal proposals.

“Diversified’s proposal was the district’s best financial option,” said Cameron.

Coast Mountains School District has been struggling with the cost of bussing with its budget.

As is the case with other school districts, Coast Mountains does not receive any specific bussing financial assistance from the provincial government.