With the possibility of a school bus driver strike next week looming, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced several new measures the city will take in the event of a strike.
At a press conference Sunday, Walcott said that in anticipation of more students using public transportation and walking to school, the NYPD would be increasing the number of transit officers, school safety officers and crossing guards if the bus drivers strike.
According to published reports, the driver's union may be set to picket this week. The New York Post is reporting that the drivers are preparing to strike Wednesday with the promise of three days notice.
The driver's union says they're concerned about job security as the city plans to accept bids from competing contractors for the first time in more than 30 years.
The city is looking to cut transportation costs and has put the contracts with private bus companies up for bid. The union is decrying the lack of employee protections, saying many current drivers could suddenly lose their jobs once their contracts are up in June.
“Though the City cannot legally do what the bus drivers’ union wants, they are threatening a strike that would impact our students and families,” Walcott said. “The City is prepared to provide those who use yellow bus service with the support they need, and put other resources to use if a strike is called."
In case of a strike, the city says students will be able to get a temporary MetroCard through their school's general office. Parents of children in grades kindergarten through second grade may request an additional MetroCard so that they can escort them to school.
Parents of children in grades kindergarten through sixth grade, and who live in areas where public transportation to school is not an option, may get reimbursed for transportation costs, whether they drive their children to school or use a taxi or car service. In either case, families are encourages to carpool.
Field trips using yellow bus service will be canceled, and afterschool programs will remain open but no busing will be provided.
Students who arrive at school late because of the strike will be excused for up to two hours and students who are unable to attend school because of the strike will be marked absent with an explanation code.