NEW YORK—With the school bus strike set to start at 6 a.m. Wednesday, parents with children in areas that require MTA bus service will be unable to use the temporary MetroCards issued by the Department of Education (DOE).
The MTA sent the MetroCards to the DOE inactive, per DOE’s request, according to MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. While activating MetroCards for subway stations will be completed by Wednesday morning, it could take up to 72 hours to update the software on the city’s vast network of nearly 6,000 buses.
“I was shocked to learn this morning that parents who need to escort their young or special education children to school tomorrow will have to pay out of pocket because the MetroCards they will be given will not work,” Council member David Greenfield said in a press release.
Greenfield said if activation of all MetroCards is impossible, the MTA should allow parents who are escorting children to school to board buses for free.
The citywide school bus strike was announced late Monday afternoon and will affect more than 150,000 children in New York City.
Michael Cordiello, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union’s Local 1181, said that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has the power to stop the strike by providing provisions, which protect the jobs of bus drivers in order of seniority. Mayor Bloomberg claims that that the provisions demanded by the union are illegal and cannot be provided in the city’s bid for contracts, a claim challenged by Cordiello and the union’s legal counsel.
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