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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Busing Fiasco

I, along with every other New Yorker not living in a cave, have been hearing about the NYC school busing fiasco. A consulting company was hired by NYC to come up with suggestions which could shave millions of dollars of the public schools' transportation budget. Unfortunately, the resulting changes, when implemented, caused chaos among school-aged children across NYC. There were reports of pre-school children being cut from the routes and being told to take mass transit, siblings who attend the same school for the same hours being given different bus routes, and much more. I was wondering whether it had affected any Yeshiva students who receive busing from the NYC Board of Ed, and apparently, it has:
February 3, 2007 -- It was high holy chaos hours before the Jewish Sabbath yesterday, as school bus companies scrambled to retrieve students at scores of yeshivas whose traditional early Friday dismissals were botched by the city's school-bus bosses.

"The schedule was completely not the way it should be, you can't believe it," said Yehuda Tunkel, executive director of the Yeshiva of Brooklyn. "Early dismissal was turned into late dismissal."

Rabbis and yeshiva directors across the city said they were flooded with phone calls from parents worried that their children would be waiting for hours to be picked up, or that they wouldn't be home before sundown.

Most yeshivas in the winter months dismiss students between 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. The Department of Education-contracted buses serve 122 yeshivas around the city.

In the end, pickups were close to being on time, but not before bus companies reverted to their previous schedules and yeshivas contacted the firms to confirm buses were on their way.

At Yeshiva Ketana Shaarei Torah in Coney Island, the situation grew so desperate that school officials summoned parents to pick up their kids rather than gamble on having buses not show up on time.

The city Department of Education contends that verifying early dismissals at yeshivas and other schools, and making appropriate arrangements, has always been the responsibility of contracted bus companies and remains so under the route changes.

But officials from bus companies insist that the duty of telling drivers where and when to pick up kids now rests with the department.
I had also heard that the local Yeshivas in Far Rockaway (which is over the Queens line), have had their bus routes changed to some degree. Some routes were eliminated, causing student's time spent on the bus to be lengthened, in some cases considerably.

Any anecdotes to share?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darchei lost a FR bus. Didn't affect my son's pickup time (maybe by 5 min).

9:20 PM  

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