School bus drivers in New York City will go on strike beginning tomorrow morning, leaving many local kids without a ride to school, and parents scrambling to figure out alternative options.
The conflict between the union and the Department of Education began when the city announced it would open up bids for routes transporting special-needs students in an effort to cut costs. The union is hoping to keep job security protections with the new contract, which expires at the end of June.
To prepare for an expected increase in demand, the Taxi and Limousine Commission has alerted its members to be ready with more cars. If anyone has a favorite car service to recommend, please do, some parents might appreciate it.
Here’s the information DOE Chancellor Dennis Walcott has provided for those who rely on yellow bus service:
• MetroCards for Students: If your child currently uses school bus service to get to school, your child will receive a MetroCard at school.
• MetroCards for Parents: If your child has an IEP that requires transportation from home to school, or if your child normally receives busing and is enrolled in kindergarten, first, or second grade, you may request a MetroCard from your child’s school to assist you in accompanying your child to school. If you plan to use the subway, you can use the MetroCard beginning Wednesday, January 16. If you plan to use a City bus, you can use the MetroCard beginning Thursday, January 17. If your MetroCard does not work, please bring it back to your school so it can be replaced. For the first day of the strike, please make your own travel arrangements, as you would on the first day of school. You may apply for reimbursement of your bus or subway fare until you are able to use your card.
• Reimbursement: Reimbursement will be offered as an alternative to MetroCards for parents whose children receive busing from their home, or students in kindergarten through sixth grade who live in areas where public transportation between home and school is not readily available. Parents who drive their children to school will be reimbursed at a rate of $0.55 per mile. Parents who use a taxi or car service to transport their child to school will be reimbursed for the trip upon submission of a reimbursement form and receipts for the service. Requests for reimbursement should be made weekly on forms that will be available on the DOE web site and in your school’s general office. You are encouraged to coordinate with neighbors and classmates whenever possible. Please note that students should be accompanied by an adult when using a taxi or car service.
• Student Attendance and Learning at Home: Our goal is to have minimal disruption to student learning. Students affected by the strike will be excused for up to two hours of delayed travel time. If a student is unable to make it to school due to the strike, educational materials for every grade and core subject are posted at here so that students can continue learning at home.
Photo via Scardy