Each school day, Ottawa’s school bus drivers travel over 136,000 kilometres as they transport about 80,000 students to and from school – the same as driving across Canada 17 times!
While school bus drivers cover a lot of ground every day, they drive significantly fewer kilometres than if all the students on their buses drove in individual vehicles to school. Without school bus drivers taking children to and from school, thousands of additional vehicles would be travelling on Ottawa’s roads, burning fuel, emitting greenhouse gases, reducing air quality, and contributing to climate change.
A typical school bus can take up to 60 cars off the road. One school bus carrying 60 kids a distance of 2 km emits 1.4 kg of GHG. If those 60 kids travelled the same distance in individual cars, 31 kg of GHG would be emitted!
Our school bus system also builds a sense of community and leads to lifelong sustainable transportation habits. As children walk to the bus stop, they make friends and meet their neighbours. They get to know their neighbourhood and enjoy the seasons as they explore their communities. When children engage in sustainable behaviours, such as riding the bus when they are young, they are more likely to continue this behaviour as adults. Studies show that children who walk, cycle, or ride a bus for transportation, at least some of the time, are likely to grow into young adults who walk, cycle, and use transit. Whether on a school bus, taking public transit, or walking, these transportation choices all contribute to the reduction of cars on the road and benefit our community.
We don’t often consider school bus drivers when we think of environmentalists, but they are making one of the biggest impacts in our city, reducing traffic, GHG emissions, and improving communities. Whether they know it or not, they are Enviro-champs!
Check out this fun 2-minute video to discover all the reasons we have to thank school bus drivers!