School buses

School bus provider Stock Transportation to keep licences

The UARB gave several conditions to Stock, concluding its three-day hearing

Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board member Dawna Ring presided over the three-day hearing.   Heather Norman

Stock Transportation will keep its licences to drive school buses for three Nova Scotia school boards, after it agreed to meet a few conditions imposed by the provincial regulator.

The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board member presiding over Stock’s hearing, Dawna Ring, said Wednesday she is “impressed” with changes Stock has made since it was stripped of its charter bus licences in January.

Stock representatives blamed Troy Phinney, the company’s former general manager, for the series of violations that led to the loss of those licences.

Ring said she is “fully satisfied that Stock Transportation’s culture (of secrecy) did not go beyond Mr. Phinney.”

Conditions

Stock’s buses serve the Halifax Regional School Board, the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial and the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board.

Ring listed a series of conditions for Stock to follow, which focus primarily on drivers and driver safety.  

Stock drivers will now have to disclose other commercial driving jobs, to ensure that they do not go over the legal driving hours limit each month.

Ring told Stock to make its whistleblower hotline more widely available to drivers by putting the number on a business card to put in wallets. She also told Stock to add two new messages to the front cover of the handbook for drivers: one on the importance of safety, the other reminding drivers to follow all laws and regulations.

Over the next year, Stock will also be required to report their drivers’ hours to the Motor Carrier Division of the Department of Transportation when on field trips that may take more than the allotted 16 hours per day. This also includes the time the driver spends waiting for students before returning them to school.

This, said Ring, will help them evaluate how the company handles situations when the driver may need more time than the legal limit allows.

“I’m not looking for you, today, to come up with everything to roll these out. I just would like to know that Stock is prepared to do that,” Ring said at the conclusion of the hearing.

Michael Scott, who represented Stock, said they agreed with all of the conditions.

Officials from Stock Transportation declined to speak to media until Ring’s written decision is released.

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