Boston secures measures to crack down on school bus driver absences in new union deal

The deal comes as Boston Public Schools faces pressure from the state to improve the punctuality of its bus fleet.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Boston, MA David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

As part of an effort to ensure all of Boston’s school buses are on the road daily, drivers will no longer be able to take off time — without advanced warning or permission — under a new contract between their union and the school system’s transportation vendor.

A generous provision in the old contract allowed drivers who didn’t show up — without notifying their supervisors — to remove blemishes on their attendance records by reclassifying up to three no-show days retroactively as “personal time off.” Drivers could do this even if their decision to skip work left students without a bus that day.


The new deal no longer allows drivers to use personal time off in that way and instead drivers could face disciplinary action. The change is one of several the transportation contractor, Transdev, secured in the new union contract, which was negotiated in partnership with Boston Public Schools and Mayor Michelle Wu’s administration. The drivers union ratified the deal Tuesday night.

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