NEW YORK (WABC) -- Students will start next week without the threat of a school bus strike on Monday, New York City schools Chancellor David Banks said.
That announcement on Friday came as a sigh of relief for the parents of up to 80,000 students who could be impacted by a strike.
Despite the good news, a strike could still happen sometime later next week, but city officials do not expect one as talks continue between the drivers' union and school bus companies.
"If we were to have a strike, it probably would not be for several weeks from now," Banks said after an event in Harlem.
Banks went on to say the union representing school bus drivers, ATU 1181, is "committed to negotiating, parents should not be concerned about a strike in near future which is a great thing."
The union that also represents attendants and mechanics says they need more money and want a new contract.
They released a statement saying a strike is not off the table yet:
"There remains a potential strike. There is no commitment not to strike. While we are doing everything we can to avoid a strike and negotiations are ongoing, time is running out."
The city released a contingency plan in the event of a strike.
Students would be given MetroCards if they are able to take public transit. If that is not an option, families would be reimbursed for alternative transportation, or in some cases, the city may provide ride-share services.
Some impacted families will be eligible for additional services, including:
- Reimbursement for Alternative Transportation - The NYC DOE is establishing a reimbursement system for families who must resort to taxis, rideshares, or personal vehicles due to the strike. A reimbursement rate of 58 cents per mile has been set, with a maximum reimbursement of $200 ($100 each way) per day.
- Rideshare for Affected Students and Families - Currently, the NYC DOE is planning to provide rideshare to some impacted families. Students using the rideshare option would be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Additionally, parents or guardians can use the service to be taken to work or a destination of choice within the five boroughs and be picked up from that location in the afternoon in order to pick up their student from school.
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