152K Kids Have to Find Ride as NYC Bus Drivers Strike

And a third of those kids have special needs
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2013 10:36 AM CST
Bus drivers and supporters walk a picket line in front of a bus depot in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – It's a rough day to be a schoolkid in the Big Apple. Some 152,000 of them had to find an alternate way to get to class in the freezing rain this morning, amid a school-bus drivers strike, reports the NY Daily News. Schools issued MetroCards to affected students so they could take public transportation, and parents who opt to pay for a taxi or drive their kids can fill out forms for reimbursement. But some worry that kids with special needs—more than a third of the children affected—will fall through the cracks, and parents of young students won't receive MetroCards allowing them to escort their kids until tomorrow.

The strike, the first since the 1970s, could last for days or months, as no negotiations have yet been scheduled between the striking bus driver's union and city officials. The dispute centers around new contracts for certain bus routes that the city plans to bid out in an attempt to cut costs. The union called for a strike, fearing current drivers could wind up jobless when their contracts expire in June, reports NBC 4 New York. Protestors are forming picket lines at bus yards, and at least one driver says she plans to stay there for "as long as it takes." Replacement drivers hired by the bus companies will be ready to take the wheel next week—so long as they're willing to cross the lines. (Read more strike stories.)

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