Provincial approval means three new buses on the way for Cowichan

The Cowichan Valley school district can now acquire three school buses for a cost of $380,858.

Provincial approval came in for the purchase this week, according to district operations manager Monroe Grobe.

"These were submitted as part of the capital plan for the year," he said. "We just got the announcement."

"These buses are more than $100,000 apiece but that is not expensive when you consider what they are for," he said.

"They’ve got to carry kids.

There are a lot of safety standards, federal standards that we have to live up to."

This year, through its fleet renewal program, the provincial government has approved $9 million for buses for 22 school districts across the province.

This is the fourth year that the Ministry of Education has worked with the Association of School Transportation Services of B.C. to procure buses in bulk. Previously, school districts negotiated with bus providers individually.

Doing it this way can mean savings of between 10-15 per cent.

Asked how district busing is going in general this fall, Grobe was pleased.

"It’s actually been better this year. Last year we just issued bus passes to every registered rider," he said. "This year because of the fee for service we are only issuing passes to those riders that have paid. So the important thing is that it gives us a bit of a gauge in identifying those who haven’t registered. That’s our target right now, to get them registered."