Possible School Bus Strike: What it Means for You and Your Kids

Many parents across the city are facing a very real possibility that there will be a system wide school bus strike in the near future. So real, in fact, that you should have a back up plan ready for getting your kids, any child from Pre-K to 12th grade, to school. If you’re not sure what’s going on, here are the facts.

The city is about to bid on new school bus contracts to secure transportation for pre-K and kindergarten kids next year, since the current contract is set to expire at the end of this current school year. Local 1181 bus drivers have since told the city that if the bid doesn’t include an Employee Protection Provision, which guarantees their seniority rights if their current employers don’t win the new bid, they will go on strike, system-wide. This means severe disruptions, or possibly even a complete strike of yellow bus service. The city has plans in place for kids who currently receive yellow bus service.

Here’s what you need to know if there is a strike:

  • For all students who currently receive yellow bus service from a designated school bus stop to school, the city’s Department of Education be issuing Metrocards. They will be made available at schools and should be requested through the school’s general office.
  • Families are being asked to consider alternative means of transportation to school in case of a strike.
  • Parents of pre-school and school-age children with IEPs requiring transportation from their home directly to their school, as well as parents of children in grades K-2, may request a Metrocard for the parent or guardian to act as the child’s escort to school.
  • For pre-school and school-age children who have an IEP requiring transportation from their home directly to their school, the DOE is offering reimbursement for actual transportation costs. Parents who drive their children to school will be reimbursed at a rate of 51 cents per mile. Parents who use a taxi or car service to transport their child to school will be reimbursed for the trip upon completion of reimbursement forms that include a receipt for provided services. Requests for reimbursements should be made one week at a time on forms that will be provided in schools’ general offices. The forms will ask you to indicate on which school days alternative transportation was taken and whether it was taken for both the morning and afternoon commute. Reimbursement forms as well as receipts should be sent to the Transportation Reimbursement Unit at 44-36 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11101.
  • Field trips using yellow bus service will be cancelled if there is a bus service strike. After school programs will remain open, but no busing will be provided.


Information about disruptions to bus service will be posted the DOE’s website. Parents and guardians whose children rely on yellow bus service—for pre-K or K-12 service— should regularly check the website for updates. You can also call 311 for more information.