It has been “the winter of our discontent,” for many.

A divide is forming, based on several different viewpoints on the subject of when (and if) school buses should run, and in what type of weather.

This is neither an article about those viewpoints nor their legitimacy. The purpose is to offer one possible solution to eliminate “snow days,” for secondary school students who have had exams pushed back several times and have been left to learn from home up to a dozen times on days when the provided, taxpayer-funded transportation was unreliable.

First off, Executive Officer of the Nipissing Parry Sound Student Transportation Services (NPSSTS), Chuck Seguin says he prefers “inclement weather days,” to “snow days,” pointing out road conditions and safety are affected by more than snow. Seguin admits nothing is off the table when it comes to improving the current system.

Seguin says the cost of transportation will be reviewed, as will the distances allowable for students to walk to school. When it comes to a hypothetical presented to him concerning secondary students living within North Bay using transit services instead of school buses, Seguin replied, “We’re looking at all service delivery options and that includes public transit. We’re going to look at it if it’s beneficial.”

North Bay Transit Manager Remi Renaud, was asked if North Bay Transit could handle the increased ridership if (hypothetically) it was the only option offered for secondary school students (grades 9-12) who live in areas serviced by transit?

Renaud replied, “Without knowing the number of students, it wouldn’t be wise for me to say yes or no. What I can tell you is that we service all of the high schools and we do not have snow days.”

Based on recent enrollment figures, approximately 1,000 secondary students with a North Bay address currently take the school bus. Could North Bay Transit handle that increase? Would ridership increase with more choice of routes and a varied schedule throughout the day? These are questions requiring answers from the NPSSTS and North Bay Transit if some sort of partnership is to be formed, but at this point, many likely believe it is a better option than what has transpired the last few winters.