Boston Public Schools: All Bus Routes Covered for Tuesday

Boston school busses sit idle behind a chain link fence at Veolia Transportation, the city's school bus contractor, in Boston, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. About 600 school bus drivers have gone on strike affecting most of the school district's 33,000 students. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Missing from several Boston bus routes: The buses.
AP

UPDATE, 8:20 a.m.: Boston Public Schools provided an update on Tuesday morning that all bus routes had been covered.

As of 6:00 a.m., only 125 buses had been assigned, leaving 50 routes uncovered. But over the following two hours, BPS worked to get union drivers in to work, even using supervisors to cover some routes. Ultimately, all of the routes were covered, though some were running as much as an hour behind schedule. You can check whether your bus is running on time here.

On Monday night, BPS released a statement encouraging parents to have a back up plan in place should their bus route not be running. The MBTA agreed to provide free service for students whose parents couldn’t wait for the busing issue to be resolved.

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The issues with bus service could get worse as the week goes on. As of Tuesday, classes are in session for only 32 charter schools and special education programs, but more schools are expected to open as the week goes on, with traditional public schools opening next week.

UPDATE, 7:15 p.m.: Boston Public Schools released a statement Monday night saying they don’t believe enough bus drivers have committed to working Tuesday morning. According to the statement from interim Superintendent John McDonough, families “should prepare alternate arrangements to bring students to and from school is necessary.”

According to McDonough’s statement:

...the number of buses required on the road increases every day this week. Tomorrow morning we will need 175 buses, compared to about 120 today. So far, only about 110 drivers have agreed to work tomorrow.

Veolia has indicated it is working with the union to encourage the drivers to report tomorrow. Veolia is continuing to assign drivers to routes. However, we cannot guarantee service tomorrow morning.

Original post: Students along 13 of 120 Boston school bus routes missed the bus on Monday-- because it never came.

School buses were expected to pick up nearly 3,000 students who are starting school this week. Much to parents’ and the school system’s surprise (and, very possibly, the students’ delight), several of them never showed up.

In a statement, Boston Public Schools placed the blame on the shoulders of the union, saying: “The school bus drivers’ union gave us assurances for several days, including early this morning, that they would provide full service to all students today ... Based on the reality on the ground this morning, it has become clear that the Union has not delivered on its promise”

“This is unacceptable to us and is unacceptable to our students and families,” the statement continued.

United Steelworkers Local 8751’s president, Dumond Lewis, told The Boston Globe that the union expected its drivers to report to work, but they didn’t. “We expected a lot of them to show up this morning, but unfortunately not enough of them showed up ... When it comes to kids, we don’t want them to never be picked up.”

The school system said the union assured it that drivers would be on their Monday afternoon routes as planned. For some reason, the school system doesn’t trust that this will happen, and is dispatching other bus services to pick up the routes. Students may also travel on the MBTA without charge today.

Things between the union, the city, and Veolia, the company that runs the city’s school bus services, have been tense recently. Last month, bus drivers rallied to protest budget cutbacks in the school system. Bus drivers went on a “surprise” strike last October in response to the union’s grievances with Veolia. Four drivers were fired for instigating an illegal strike. Union members then protested those firings. The union’s contract with Veolia expired in June, and a new agreement has not been reached.

About 400 students were left bus-less this morning. “We are as frustrated as anyone else with the ongoing uncertainty that has been created by our bus drivers union,” the school system said.