strike

The NYC school bus drivers are on strike. Today is day two and the last school bus strike lasted for 3 months. 3 months!! The preschool buses have separate contracts, so Isaac still rides the bus, but Andrew is without bussing for who knows how long.

This has made for some juggling on our end. Luckily we saw this coming for a few weeks and had already made our plan of what we’ll do if they strike. Andrew was sent home with a metrocard the day before the strike and the city has also promised to reimburse cab fare for parents getting their kids to school. I don’t think we’ll need either, however.

Dave and Andrew now take the train together in the mornings. Andrew still rides for free (we’re not even sure how old you need to be to start paying for train rides) and Dave doesn’t need the metrocard from the school because he already buys a monthly pass through his work. (Though I think a lot of the parents in Andrew’s class will be glad to have that metrocard!)

Then, in the afternoons I leave here at 1:40 to pick up Isaac. Isaac’s and Andrew’s schools both end at 2:20…but I need to pick up Isaac early to get to Andrew…who’s school is anywhere from 30-60 minutes away (depending on traffic). Yesterday it worked out as smooth as I could have hoped for. I got Isaac out of his school by 2, got to Andrew by 2:20 (!!!) and…FOUND PARKING NEAR HIS SCHOOL!! amazing. I was prepared to double park and risk getting a ticket. So to find parking was pinch-me-so-lucky!

So, all in all, not too bad. I know not every day will go smoothly…and that’s okay. I’m going to do my best to just roll with it.

As for the strike…honestly I don’t know what to think. They are striking for job security. The city hires private bus companies…and the contracts are up in June when the city will look to hire on bus companies again…and they might drop some existing lines and pick up some other, less expensive companies to take their place.

Last night I took some time to do some online reading about the strike and to hear people’s responses. There was a whole lot of “selfish bus drivers!” “I would NEVER let my kids ride the bus now!” and “$20 an hour is too much to pay a bus driver!” But, man. I don’t know. I don’t have much choice but to let my kids ride the bus when it’s available. And although driving a bus seems straightforward, I don’t think it is. We’ve had some low-bid companies in the past…and the difference was sort of hair-raisingly alarming. Like driving off before my kid was sitting down, old, rumbly buses, and bus matrons who sat back while my little guy tried to get down the big bus stairs with his jumbo backpack and clumsy footing.

I just really like the good bus companies. Maybe it sounds big-brother, but I like the extra care that some bus companies invest into my kiddos. It makes the whole process feel safer.

The mayor keeps saying that they are striking over something that is illegal and the city cannot budge. That NYC pays much more on bussing-per-student than most places. That it needs to cut costs. And I get that. My “I can’t believe how much my family costs the taxpayers!!” voice CRINGES at that kind of thing. Because, guys. My family is EXPENSIVE.

Anyway, the whole thing is so complicated. And I don’t know what the answer is…would job security mean that my kids get a safe ride to school? Or would it mean that bus drivers that have been employed forever, but aren’t really good at their jobs anymore, can’t be fired because of the union? which would mean they wouldn’t get a safe ride to school.

I just want my kids learning and safe. And I think the bus drivers and the city want that too on some level. Here’s hoping they work it out soon.

oh oh! and I made a scrapbook page! ha! I’ve been trying to tie together my photos with my writing more lately…but not today! oh well!


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About robyn

I stopped teaching Kindergarten in 2005 to become the mom of two crazy boys here in Brooklyn. At first I thought being a stay at home mom meant that I needed to pour all my time and energy directly into my sons, but I realized somewhere along the way that being a rockstar mom meant not only taking good care of my boys, but also taking good care of myself. And taking good care of myself means pursuing something creative...just about everyday. I started Made In Brooklyn to motivate myself in my creative goals as well as share my work with others and perhaps inspire them in their own creative journeys.
This entry was posted in Andrew and Isaac, scrapbook, urban living. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to strike

  1. Mama V says:

    yes! happy drivers with decent contracts = safe kids and investment in our schools! as inconvenient as it is (and i’m really sorry and hope it’s over SOON!), they deserve to be treated well!

    i bet the boys are loving the extra dad- and mom-time, too. ;)

    • Robyn says:

      exactly! They get more time both with us…and to play! Since Andrew gets home MUCH earlier when I pick him up!

      :) But he’s missing out on all that pop-culture he picks up on the bus…like popular music (he knows the words from “moves like Jagger” from his bus ride!) and how to spell swear words… so there’s that… ;)

  2. kirsten says:

    Technically, Andrew should pay for the subway: http://www.mta.info/metrocard/mcgtreng.htm
    (All kids over 44 inches are supposed to pay)
    Though it seems like every parent in the city breaks these guidelines. It’s funny to me that they made a rule based on a child’s height. Doesn’t make sense at all.

    • Robyn says:

      woah! I had no idea!

      I’m really surprised no one says anything when we scoot him through. I guess we’ll need that metro card after all!

      • Robyn says:

        oh…and Kirsten…what age to ride by yourself?

        When did Eric start riding by himself?

        • kirsten says:

          I think 44 inches is about age 5. I heard somewhere that it’s the height of the turnstile, but I don’t think that’s right. I think Tess is the height of the turnstile. They probably do it that way to make it easy to solve should a cop need to challenge a parent. (You don’t carry anything to prove a child’s age.) But like I said, it seems like parents all over the city hardly ever pay for young children, well into ages 7 and 8.

          And Eric started riding by himself around 11 or 12, I think? He said that his mother would make him take the lead when they were out together. So he had to make all the calls regarding transfers, etc. And if he got lost, she’d make him figure it out. Once he’d done that with her enough, then she trusted him on his own. I think he started taking the bus earlier, on more trusted routes, etc.

          • Robyn says:

            oooohhh I like that. I like how Eric’s mom handled that. Did Eric like it? Or as a 12 year old did it drive him nuts? “Mooooom!!! Just TELL me how to get to QUEENS!!” ;)

  3. Susan says:

    The PATH which we use most is age five. Not sure how tall the average five year old is but probably about that? We assumed the NYC rules were the same and started paying both places at the same time. The city probably has better things to do than break out a measuring tape at the turnstiles.

  4. Susan says:

    Job security I am not a fan of. For the reasons you stated. Good wages I can get behind. Seems like they might be able to compromise. Ridiculous when kids’ safety is involved not to be able to fire bad drivers.

    • Robyn says:

      right…and I’m not even sure it would protect that. I just don’t know. They still might be able to fire drivers based on competence…but not based on what company they work for? Though how would that work?? since the city doesn’t hire drivers…just companies…

  5. Mama V says:

    i figure that the legal age for a child to be left alone unattended at home is 12 years old, so that’s about a good time for them to take the subway by themselves. obviously, maturity and readiness play a factor, and i do see plenty of kids far younger on the subway and/or walking home from school.

  6. Amy says:

    One of my favourite aspects of your blog Robyn is that you DON’T tie writing and pages together!

    In regards to the comment comment on my blog – if I click on your name I am taken to your blogger profile where your blog is linked. Is this what you mean? If it is , then people are able to find your blog through my comments and the origin of all the witty commentary! heheee. However, when you comment I can’t reply directly to you via email as you are set up as a no-reply-blogger-comment and I can’t change that setting. If there is another setting you are referring to, or I have this completely wrong, please let me know.

    Stikes are always tricky, outcomes are not always in the best interests of the recipients of the service despite the need for fair and equitable work environments. You sound as though you have a chilled attitude though – good luck!

  7. Neisa says:

    While I miss living in NYC, I don’t miss the politics of the city nor the unions. That said, I am a firm believer in “you get what you pay for”. Can we really put a price on the safety of our children?

    I love the scrapbook page, his red hair just gets me every time. So stinking cute.

    Also (from your comments above), my mother did not let me ride the subway alone until high school (about 14 years old), but I was allowed to ride the local bus alone from Queens to Brooklyn to visit my grandpa (at about 12). I had to sit near the front of the bus so the driver could see me.

  8. Amy says:

    Okay, yes, I see what you mean – re the blog identities – I had it like that because I was getting a bit of spam because I took comment verification off. I’ve changed it and hopefully it allows everyone under any identity to comment again – hopefully the spammers stay away! And yes, it took less than 15 seconds to do!

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