October 28th, 2020

City shouldn’t shirk busing responsibility


By Letter to the Editor on December 16, 2019.

School busing has become an issue in our community. Like others, I have been actively listening. What I am hearing is disturbing.

On one hand we have an official body, city council, elected by us, trying to offload an important responsibility to other official bodies, the school boards, also elected by us. I point out that these official bodies work for us and are paid by us. So the first directive to our hirelings is “stop fighting.”

The debate is the usual. Elected bodies fighting over costs and litigation.

What? Costs? Litigation? What about the kids? What about the parents?

The real question, on behalf of the children riding in the buses, is “Whose bus do we trust?”

As for me, I trust the City. The City is mandated to implement and operate a public transportation system with safety first and always in mind. They have been doing the school busing and I have yet to hear any serious and ongoing concern about how they are doing this job. Therefore, I implore the city council to not shirk this responsibility.

Neither party has any advantage on the cost argument. We taxpayers pay whoever buses our children. The argument over litigation is easily solved with a few strokes of a pen on documents already in existence.

Come on, City, buck up! If you have to offload, do so with something you don’t do well and offload it to the private sector. That way I only have to pay if I want the service.

Clint Dunford

Lethbridge

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George McCrea

Some additional links to Mr. Dunfords comments. With respect to the subject of risk and liability the school boards pay the City of Lethbridge for the insurance on school busing. I wonder who covers the risk and liability insurance for the newly formed “the Watch” and the recently required airport. I recently saw a new Crimson Dodge Truck complete with “the Watch” boldly emblazoned on the side along with some LPS decals on the vehicle. The vehicle was being driven by a member of the watch team and appeared to have several others in the cab. Question, does the risk and liability come out of the police budget or does it come from an allotment from City Council.

https://www.holyspirit.ab.ca/_cabinet/2/18/November_25,_2019_-_Joint_Release_City_Bus.pdf

https://www.holyspirit.ab.ca/_cabinet/2/18/Student_Transportation_Nov._26_.pptx.pdf

https://www.holyspirit.ab.ca/whatsNew.cfm?whatID=249

sdvlpv

School busing is not a municipal service responsibility, Responsibility rightfully belongs to the school systems. The service in Lethbridge is provided by the City, under contract. At expiry of the contract, the City has the option to NOT renew and the school systems have the option to contract elsewhere.

George McCrea

The contract is not the issue. The false flag of risk and liability is. Sure would be good for you to step up with your real name to see which vested interest you may be be speaking from. Mine, I’m am school bus driver. You???

sdvlpv

Hey George
Risk Manager, retired, Citizen and Tax Payer

George McCrea

Hey whosever moniker you’re hiding behind, both boards have indicated willingness to discuss risk and liability.
Ergo, they will pay to assume higher costs of risks and liability. Issue is, this was arbitrary, without consultation you know those things the NDP accuse the UCP of, running a dictatorship. School boards, parents were blindsided and kept in the dark. Risk and liability not an issue on a plethora of other city platforms.

Fescue

Am I the only one here surprised that a minister of the Klein era would be talking about shirking responsibility to the public weal?

I’m sure Council (elected to make these decisions) appreciates all of the help they get in deciding what services are valued by The Taxpayer, and what should be paid for through private industry! As a rule, it seems that many people value only what they value and expect it to be universally available for free, while they don’t have much consideration about the needs or values of others which should be paid for by the user.

George McCrea

Hey whosever moniker you’re hiding behind, both boards have indicated willingness to discuss risk and liability.
Ergo, they will pay to assume higher costs of risks and liability. Issue is, this was arbitrary, without consultation you know those things the NDP accuse the UCP of, running a dictatorship. School boards, parents were blindsided and kept in the dark. Risk and liability not an issue on a plethora of other city platforms.

George McCrea

Hey Fescue long grass. It’s 2019. Klein’s been dead 6 years. Clean off the dust and catch up. When you have to take a run at
Dunford in your opening volley you have no argument.

Fescue

Er, George, Mr. Dunford wrote the letter that I was responding to. The argument is, quite simply, that when you have governments that create economic environments of austerity, you force municipalities (and public institutions from health, to education, to police) to make decisions to reduce services. The second argument, is that the people who were voted to make these decisions should be the ones making them with all of the information before them. I hope that helps you focus as you ramble on about the airport.

snowman

George : you know me I would like to say you shrug of liability which is an error you are a hired driver by the City of Lethbridge who pay your wages I assume. What would you say you are the driver involved in a serious accident you have deaths and serious injuries you are found at fault the parents file legal recovery. in this day and age a$1million dollar claim is a thing of the past. you will be served jointly and severely with bus owner for death or physical damage. A 10million claim is within reach. So the City School bussing insurance budject $ 258,300.00 what is maximum plpd and whose name is on the policy. I understand the City is self-insured. any claim would be paid by taxpayers. Why does the City purchase busses with 5 year life cycle and depreciated residual who covers. Would you say liability is a important factor . I subsidized the School Board of my choice I have no school children for over 40 years I pay school tax.

George McCrea

He City will be sued regardless of who drives or operates the bus. Fact of life. Multitude of reasons. Failure to clear bus stops of snow, failure to clear roads properly to name a few.
A few corrections. The City pays our wages and the school boards reimburse. Zero additional cost to you other than coming via the province from your school preference. The schools pay 258,000.00 a year for insurance again from their provincially allotted budget. This service has been in place for fifty years. Why the big stink now. School boards own the buses. City maintains them (fully reimbursed). So beyond zero cost to the City your issue is liability. Ok, say it was you who hit the bus, whose liability is it then? Please explain your thoughts on the differences in liability between school busing where exposure is 3.5 hours a day per bus and transit which operates multiple units up to 18 hours a day. As a concerned tax payer, who do you feel exposes you more?

snowman

thks George It would interesting to know why the buses have City of Lethbridge decals on sides of bus and not school boards and whose owner name is on the bus registration. It sounds like you do not understand liabilty. With all the reportedl bus accident injuries and deaths, it would be interesting to see the payouts. We pay school tax and property tax somebody will pay the bill.

George McCrea

I guess you could ask the same about why the City has a police vehicle driving around with “the Watch” on the side of it. I understand the liability completely and you have failed to answer my questions, as to explain how you see the difference between all City Department. Say a private contractor does take over and the armageddon sky is falling accident you describe takes place. Do you think the City and school boards are going to be exempt from a lawsuit. In this “day of 10 million dollar” lawsuits I think you’re the one who doesn’t understand. Liability is everywhere. So after fifty years let’s all go live in a bubble based on a redacted report that even the school boards cant’ see.

snowman

George: what the issue we were speaking too was school bus liability mainly for your responsibility as a driver. You asked what happens if I hit the Bus if I am found at fault my insurance company will be involved if my coverage does not cover claim I will be on the hook with lawsuit. If you hit me and are found at fault you will be served jointly a severly with your employer for any claim above insurance covered. The City of Lethbridge is self insured meaning any claim against found at fault the taxpayer is on the hook. I was foremerly a Regional Manager for Safety & Prevention dealt with accident claims and insurance coverage in four provinces I know what I am asking questions about.