More than 1,000 children in Toronto are either getting to school late or not going at all due to an "unanticipated" bus driver shortage.
Two Toronto school boards said they are scrambling to get as many children to school with drivers doubling and tripling up on routes, calling in extra drivers and buses and taxis — even some principals are using their cars to help out.
"It's unacceptable," said Toronto District School Board spokesman Ryan Bird.
"We should have been seeing our students transported to and from school as usual this week."
He said some students — primarily elementary school children — are waiting more than an hour for a bus while some never show up.
The TDSB and the Toronto Catholic District School Board — both use buses from a consortium of companies — said there are about 60 routes that currently don't have drivers.
Both boards said the problems stem from a driver shortage from three companies: Attridge Transportation, Wheelchair Accessible Transit and Sharp Bus Lines.
Bird said as recently as two weeks ago, the public board heard from its transportation carriers that everything was fine for the school year.
"Last week we started to hear about potential number problems, but no one anticipated this to be an issue, otherwise we would have told everyone," Bird said.
He said the board will recoup costs from the companies that aren't meeting their service demands.
The Catholic school board's spokesman John Yan said several principals are out in the cars picking up and dropping children off.
"The principals feel responsible for the safety of these children," Yan said.
"It's all hands on deck right now."
Both boards are hopeful to have the problems fixed by next week, but warn some problems may persist a few more weeks.