New York City school bus companies have been hit with thousands of speeding and red light tickets in the past two years, an I-Team analysis shows.
Some bus companies racked up hundreds of violations, leading parents and politicians to express concern about the safety of New York City’s schoolchildren. About half the bus companies registered in New York City got at least one ticket since 2013.
It wasn't clear how far the buses traveled.
One company, Y&M, has 257 buses in its fleet, and received 271 violations in the past two years. The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Lois Torres is a mother of four children who take a Y&M bus to school. Though their particular bus had no violations, she worried about them taking the bus each day.
“It’s crazy, that’s how kids get hurt, you have a lot of accidents, and stuff like that, you know?” she said. “I worry a lot, because my kids are on the bus.”
Other bus companies had similar numbers. L&M Bus Corporation had 415 tickets in the last two years. It has nearly 300 buses on its fleet. The company told the I-Team that drivers are subjected to a retraining process if they receive a ticket and can be fired after four strikes.
Little Richie Bus Company received more than 500 violations, totaling nearly nine violations for every 10 of their buses. The company that owns them, Logan Bus Company, also had more than 300 violations.
An attorney for both Little Richie and Logan said the company, which runs more than a million routes annually, has a three strikes policy. Drivers could lose their job on the third violation.
“The safety of children is [our] biggest concern,” the attorney said.
The Department of Education said the top violating bus companies ran more than 140,000 routes within the two years the I-Team analyzed.
The I-Team obtained enforcement videos that show one bus speeding through red lights multiple times, even at busy intersections. That single bus got 10 tickets in two years.
Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams, a member of the Education Committee, said the city needs to get “everyone at the table” to reduce dangerous behavior.
“It’s one thing if you’re driving yourself, it’s another when you’re driving so many kids,” said Williams, a Democrat whose district had some of the most ticketed intersections. “I think you should take an extra precaution if you’ve got kids on the bus.”
He said he wanted to make sure that red light cameras were changing driver’s actions, rather than simply issuing tickets.
Most bus companies said their drivers receive extensive training. The Department of Education, which hires bus companies, said bus drivers must submit to an annual review of their driving records and safety courses.
Torres said she herself has seen buses running lights.
“They’ve got to slow down, because they’ve got kids on that bus. But they don’t,” she said.
Other parents also found it unsettling, like Susan Abuzahriah, mother of a 6-year-old.
“That’s unsafe for the kids,” she said. “Something has to be done.”