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Bus operators protest outside debate

A noisy protest outside Cutten Fields just before Monday’s election debate was meant to send a message to Education Minister Liz Sandals that many school bus operators are mad at her government.
School bus drivers held placards outside the entrance to the venue, while many yellow school buses circled an adjacent U of G parking lot with horns blaring.
Over 20 school bus companies in southwestern Ontario, some of which have lost their businesses due to Liberal government policy, came to the protest, said a news release from the Independent School Bus Operators Association.
A provincial push for school boards to obtain competitive bidding to save money on student busing has been a focus of criticism for years.
Since 2009, nearly 30 school bus companies owned by rural families have been put out of business in a Request for Proposal initiative “designed to favour multi-market businesses,” the release said.
In 2013, Independent School Bus Operators Association members served 3,400 of the 18,000 daily school bus routes in Ontario.
Many of its members are second- and third-generation businesses that “have served their communities for years, providing safe, quality services at a fair price,” the release said.

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