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School bus system warrants scrutiny

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  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 06:00 am

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Re: school busing fees (Gazette, Saturday, Jan. 26). We decided a long time ago that the charges for busing our children to school were not fiscally responsible.

For a family with three children who travel 3.3 kilometres to school the total cost for busing is approximately $360 a year. If one considers an estimated fuel economy of 13L/100km for an average minivan, an overestimation of 200 school days per year, and 6.6 km/day you will come up with an annual fuel consumption associated with driving to and from school of approximately 173 L/yr. Based on the most recent average price of gas in the Edmonton area ($0.975/l) and neglecting vehicle insurance and maintenance costs this leads to approximately $168/yr. This is a substantial difference and it neglects the many days when children can, heaven forbid, walk or ride bikes to school.

I realize not every family has the same flexibility we do and personally taking children to school every day is likely not an option. I feel badly for these families because they don't get to share this fun experience. In addition, these estimates are only possible when transporting multiple children, but everyone could carpool. Driving children to school is obviously not the most environmentally responsible or healthy option and there must be a better way, but the ever increasing cost of living in St. Albert makes the dollars speak very loudly.

One option is to make the public transit system more comprehensive and effective. If done correctly, the entire school bus system could be eliminated and empty transit buses would be full. You may say this is not possible in a small city like St. Albert, however we are temporarily residing in a German city of the same size and that is exactly how it is done. Our children take public transportation everywhere with no worry or concern, and they barely speak or read the language being used around them. We clearly need to carefully re-examine things in St. Albert and explore options to make our lives more healthy, efficient and responsible.

Jonathan Veinot, St. Albert


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