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Maple Ridge school district defends cutting bus service

(Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

Maple Ridge school board chair hopes carpooling and after school care programs can help kids get to school

MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS 1130) – Maple Ridge school trustees are defending their decision to cut school bus service in the district beginning next year, despite protests from parents.

The move was actually made last year but won’t come into effect until classes start in the fall.

Parents say kids will have to walk, sometimes up to 15 kilometres.

Board Chair Mike Murray says they had few options.

“To be quite honest, we have cut and cut and cut and don’t feel there are any other areas. We’ve really done so much cutting over the last few years, that this is really one of the last areas we feel we have available,” says Murray.

A little more than 350 students ride the buses daily, and Murray says they have to balance their needs with the 14,000 students across the district.

“We’re hearing pressure from other parents and students about things like class sizes, about the lack of counselling, so those things we have to consider as well,” says Murray.

Murray agrees 15 kilometres are too much to expect kids to walk, but hopes carpooling and after school care programs may help that situation.

The district has also been approached about commercial busing, but that would come with a fee for parents.