As you all know, New York City’s school bus drivers are striking. We wrote you a few weeks ago urging you to follow the story and get updates from the DOE on alternative options for families that rely on yellow bus service to travel to and from school. AFC is continuing to push the Department of Education for a solution that works for all of our youth, but we wanted to write now to make sure that you are aware of some more specific resources available to help get your children to school during the strike.
- If you don’t know yet, and need to determine if your child’s bus route has been disrupted by the strike, see here.
- For general information about the use of MetroCards and reimbursement for driving or taking a taxi or other car service see here. A few things to note about these options:
- MetroCards are available for all students who use yellow bus services through school offices.
- MetroCards are available for some parents of students who use yellow bus services to allow them to accompany their children to and from school.
- Parents of all preschool and all school-age children with IEPs are eligible.
- Parents of general education students in grades K-6 are eligible.
- Parents of students in grades K-6 who receive yellow bus services will be reimbursed for driving costs at a rate of 55 cents per mile upon completion of reimbursement forms.
- Parents of students in grades K-6 who receive yellow bus services may also be reimbursed for cab fares upon completion of reimbursement forms.
- Families of students who are eligible for yellow bus services who cannot utilize public transportation and cannot afford to pay carfare costs up front and then seek reimbursement should reach out to their school administrator or CSE for further assistance. If the family qualifies for free or reduced price lunch and the child receives specialized transportation, protocols have been set up to arrange to have families’ fees for car services assigned to and paid by the DOE. A list of car service providers is available on the DOE website or by calling the Office of Pupil Transportation’s Customer Service number at (718) 392-8855. Families who can demonstrate financial hardship regardless of Title 1 status should reach out to their schools as well. If that is not successful, contact your Committee on Special Education.
- Students who have IEPs that require paraprofessional or nursing support for transportation should continue to get those services. Speak with your school directly about this.
- Students who don’t generally have paraprofessional support on their yellow buses, who are traveling during the strike to school by subway or through a car service, and whose families are, for whatever reason, unable to accompany them, but who still may need an adult other than a parent to travel with them by train or by car, should also speak directly with their schools to determine what arrangements can be made under the circumstances.
- For information specific to finding an accessible ride, go here.
- For a copy of the travel reimbursement forms in multiple languages, see here.
As always, we urge you to continue checking back on the DOE’s website or contacting 311 for updates and to advocate with your schools and central DOE offices if you need assistance (see here for AFC’s tips on advocacy). If you are confused or encounter unexpected obstacles obtaining MetroCards, reimbursement, securing accessible transportation services, or arranging for other forms of assistance, contact the AFC Helpline at 1-866-427-6033 for information and assistance or send specific information about your case to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocates for Children of New York