Why Drive A School Bus?
Check out these Top 7 reasons to consider joining our team of professional bus drivers!
1. Offers the same schedule as the school, with the exception of training.
2. Parents of pre-school age children in a forward-facing car seat can take their children to work with them. The bus would be fitted with seat belts to accommodate.
3. Free time during the day!
4. Pro-rated pay to provide year-round income.
5. Paid first-aid and S-endorsement (defensive driving) training.
6. Field trip work during school hours for interested drivers.
7. Community trips during school hours and outside of school hours for interested drivers. This could include some community work during the summer months if you're interested as well.
A general application form and information is found at http://www.pallisersd.ab.ca/hr/career-opportunities
For more information, call Transportation Services at 403-380-2612.
Palliser School Division owns and operates a fleet of more than 90 buses servicing nearly 60 routes in Lethbridge County, Vulcan County and Town of Coaldale. The fleet travels about 1.8 million kilometres a year.
Our team of professional drivers complete first-aid and S-endorsement training, the latter focusing on bus safety and defensive driving.
At the wheel of some of the longest, largest and slowest vehicles on the highway (buses carrying students can legally only travel 90 km/h on the highway), our drivers take pride in the safety of their precious cargo, our students.
For students new to Palliser and requiring bus service, please contact your school. The school's office staff will complete and submit the necessary paperwork to establish bus service for you. It is imperative that you provide the school your 911 address. In urban areas, this is the house number and street/avenue where the pickup will occur. In rural areas, this is the series of numbers on the blue sign at your property. Please ensure this information is correctly reported to your school and included on your registration form.
If you have a question or concern about Palliser busing, please contact
David Shaw, Transportation Services Supervisor
Palliser School Division
or email him through our Contact form
Bus Status Information
The status of your child's Palliser-owned bus is updated regularly to give you peace of mind knowing whether the bus is running behind, on time or whether service has been cancelled.
Bus status information specific to your school is found on your school's website. You can also see the status of all Palliser routes here.
How does Palliser decide to cancel bus service?
Every winter when bus service is cancelled, Palliser faces questions about how these decisions are made. The answers are found in Palliser’s Administrative Procedure 549 (Inclement Weather) and Administrative Procedure 555 (Bus Transportation During Inclement Weather).
Yet these documents don’t quite capture the scope of networking that occurs in the critical minutes between 5 and 6 a.m. It’s a tale of neighbours talking to neighbours, office staff monitoring Internet sources, and good old first-person reports from people who “physically go out in a vehicle to see what it’s like,” says Transportation Services Supervisor David Shaw.
The process usually starts the night before with monitoring of forecasts and weather advisories. If the forecast calls for potentially dangerous conditions, he calls drivers to put them on warning.
LARGE DIVISION DIVIDED INTO FOUR REGIONS
Palliser buses serve a large area that spans roughly 200 kilometres north to south. As a result, an assessment of conditions occurs in each of four areas:
- Arrowwood, Milo and the colony schools of Riverbend, New Dale and Arrowwood at the far north;
- Brant, Vulcan, Champion and colony schools of Brant, Wild Rose and Mialta;
- Barons, Huntsville, Coalhurst, Picture Butte, Noble Central and Gold Ridge Colony;
- and Sunnyside, Coaldale and the colony schools of Lakeside, New York and Rock Lake to the south.
“There are four distinct microclimates, and the conditions can be quite different from one area to another,” Shaw said.
NETWORK INVOLVES MANY EYES ON CONDITIONS
Shaw starts by calling seven key bus drivers and his administrative assistant who collect information from their own sources. For the drivers, this involves calling on parents near and far along their own route, as well as other bus drivers in their region, and may involve taking a drive to see for themselves. Meanwhile, Shaw’s assistant Sherrie Shears begins monitoring 511 Alberta road reports, the Weather Channel and Environment Canada for various communities.
Shaw contacts Lethbridge and Vulcan County officials, as well as Volker Stevin, the company contracted to maintain highways to get their take.
By 5:45 a.m., having heard back from the network, Shaw makes a recommendation about whether buses can safely run, and he phones the Superintendent.
Following Shaw’s advice, the Superintendent makes the ultimate decision which is then relayed by Shaw and Shears to key bus drivers across the division, who then call all other affected drivers. Each driver then begins fanning out the information by phone to each parent on the route.
While those calls are being made, Shaw calls radio stations, Coaldale Christian School and Holy Spirit School Division officials who also use Palliser bus services, and other department staff. Shears updates Palliser’s website and bus status apps, and notifies others, including principals, any spare drivers filling in for the day and the Town of Coaldale, if affected. By the time these calls start, it’s likely still only 6:15 a.m.
KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE
When bus service is cancelled, it’s cancelled for the full day. Individual bus drivers have the discretion to not run or abandon completion of the route if conditions warrant.
Aside from road conditions, routes may be cancelled if the ambient temperature is -35 degrees Celsius or colder.
Even then, Palliser’s practice is to keep schools open with even limited staff to ensure no child arrives at school, unaware of a closure, and is left in the cold. Following a major blizzard in December 2013, hundreds of students across Palliser arrived at school.
Shaw says the decision to attend school in a winter storm is very much an individual one. Employees and bus drivers can determine for themselves if roads are impassable; parents can decide to keep students home, even if the school is open.
Ultimately, the safety of students is the priority. Shaw says it’s absolutely vital that students come to school dressed for the elements. A warm bus doesn’t stay warm long if it encounters mechanical issues.
Palliser School Division does make its well maintained fleet and the services of its professional drivers available to community groups for private field trips and outings.
These trips are arranged through contact with Transportation Services in Central Office.
Please click here for an application form.
Palliser school staff requesting a bus and driver for a school field trip should submit this requisition form to Transportation Services.
Palliser's fleet of buses is operated daily by Palliser employees who take pride in being part of the division team that supports student learning through the provision of safe transportation to and from school.
However, some children are transported by drivers under service contracts.
Each year, Palliser will enter agreements with parents/guardians/other contractors to provide daily transportation to children who receive program unit funding or who are school age but require other transportation accommodation than the school bus. The drivers sign specific contracts and invoice Palliser for the transportation service they provide.
Under these circumstances, invoices should be submitted monthly and signed by the school principal.
Click here for the Special Transportation Parent/Agent Agreement Information Form.
Click here for the PUF Special Agreement form.
Click here for the In-Program Transportation Invoice.
Click here for the Daily Transportation Invoice for School-Age Students.
Click here for the PUF Daily Transportation Invoice.