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!