a labour of love
the past six months Ive had the pleasure of driving
a school bus for ML Bradley Ltd. based out of Navan. Not
the big bus mind you, but a mini-bus taking a group of
special needs students from the south end of the city
to Ottawa Technical Secondary School on Donald Street.
10 kids in my care were a pleasure to deal with in every
took the job in December after approaching ML Bradley
owner Kathleen Both in need of some extra money to help
pay the bills.
passing my written test, I trained for three weeks before
acquiring my B-class license which allows me to drive
any size bus.
was given Route M61 starting at 7 a.m. every morning.
I love driving anyway, so operating a bus 2.5 hours in
the morning and again in the afternoon was no big deal.
Bradley Ltd. has been around for more than 50 years. The
company was started by Lorne Bradley, who as a teenager
in the mid-40s, had the foresight to understand the need
to transport students living in rural communities like
Navan to high schools in the city.
1946, he leased an old station wagon to transport his
fellow students to and from Lisgar Collegiate, and while
it would be another 20 years before he founded the company
that bears his name, the seed had already been planted.
the years ML Bradley Ltd. has grown into one of the most
respected school bus companies in the province, largely
because of their safety record and also because of some
of the innovations theyve brought to the industry
like Child Check-Mate which reminds drivers to check their
buses for sleeping students after every run.
Both currently runs the company with her husband Gord
and their youngest son Andrew. They are also blessed with
a dedicated office staff including Andrew, François,
Heather and Julie and Elyssa and a professional group
of drivers, some of whom have been with the company for
more than 20 years.
a school bus can be a pretty stressful sometimes, especially
if youre transporting a group of kindergarten students
and have to deal with Ottawa drivers day in and day out.
I wish I had a dash cam just so I could post some of the
near misses I had with drivers making lefthand turns in
front of me, or simply cutting me off.
never had anyone drive past my bus with the flashing lights
on and the stop arm extended, but it happened far too
often on other routes.
people would be surprised to find out that school bus
drivers make $13 an hour. I know I was, especially considering
the immense reponsibility they have in keeping their young
hourly wage is indirectly set by the provincial government
which establishes how much they are willing to pay for
transportation at the beginning of every schol year.
would I do it all over again? Absolutely. In fact, unless
my current situation changes drastically, I plan to be
back driving a school bus in September.
bus drivers can usually be lumped into two categories
stay at home parents looking to supplement the
family income, or semi-retired individuals looking to
keep busy anf earn some extra income in the pro-cess.
Depending on the route, you can clear $1,000 to $1,200
is an absolute joy to work for. They treat their employees
extremely well and they provide ongoing training sessions
and safety meetings throughout the year.
you enjoy driving and could use a few extra dollars every
month, I cant recommend operating a school bus enough.
ML Bradley is currently looking for new drivers for the
coming school year. You can learn more by visiting www.mlbradley.com.
you wish to comment on this or any other View Point column
please write to Fred Sherwin at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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