No bus service for 3,000 SI students

September 8, 2010 3:22:34 PM PDT
There was no bus service for thousands of students on Staten Island as they headed back to school Wednesday.

"I'm very upset. I have to work early. I loose work. It's financially tough," said Gustavo Sosa, a parent.

Sosa says the yellow bus service change is hectic and stressful on his family.

He has to pick up his twin daughters from Paulo Intermediate School at 2:20 p.m. and then rush across town to pick up his son at 2:50 p.m.

He still hasn't hammered out a clear schedule in the mornings for when he drops them off.

"I can't afford other transportation. I don't have the money for a babysitter. It's frustrating," Sosa said.

Wednesday was the first day nearly 3,000 Staten Island seventh and eighth grade students are banned from yellow school bus service.

Tuesday, several hundred angry and frustrated parents, teachers, students and bus drivers' union reps gathered for a rally on the steps of IS 45 in Huguenot.

They says students face unique transportation challenges, because public bus service requires several transfers to get to school or long walks on busy streets, some without sidewalks.

City leaders say the funds are not there anymore.

"I wish we had the money for it. Generally for students in the 7th and 8th grade we don't provide busing. When budget times were better we tried to do that. Unfortunately, we are facing very tight choices and tight situations. So, we've asked our students, we've given them MetroCards, we've asked our students to help us in terms of the overall budget situation. I wish we had more money, that's all I can say," NYC School Chancellor Joel Klein said.

Tuesday, parents, teachers, and politicians hoped a judge would grant a temporary restraining order, hoping to keep the yellow bus service while they duke it out with city leaders.

They lost in court, but they say the battle is far from over.