NEW YORK (CBS 2) — For decades seventh and eighth graders on Staten Island have been the exception to the citywide rule. They’ve been allowed to ride yellow buses to school.
But as of the first day of school Wednesday that free ride is over.
The city claims its cutting costs, leaving many parents asking “at what price?”
Outrage spilled past the gates of IS 74. School bus service has been cancelled for all seventh and eighth graders on Staten Island, leaving about 3,000 students in need of another way to get to class.
Some told CBS 2’s Rob Morrison they had no idea how they’d get to school.
The city says cutting the bus service will save more than $3 million, money the Department of Education believes can be better spent on students elsewhere. But opponents of the new policy say the city shouldn’t put a price tag on safety.
“This was so arbitrary. Here’s how we can save $3.4 million: Don’t worry about the kids. They’ll find a way to get to school,” said Councilman Vincent Ignizzio.
Some parents said because of Staten Island’s busy traffic and limited infrastructure, walking to school is too dangerous in most neighborhoods.
Take for example the spot on Arthur Kill Road where the sidewalk just ends. Any student walking here would have to step into oncoming traffic – which is even more dangerous in winter weather.
“This is an accident waiting to happen and every parent on this Island knows it,” Kim Dimino said.
Students who live more than a mile and a half from school will be eligible for discounted public transportation like other parts of the city. Parents aren’t thrilled about that option either.
“It’s gonna be hard because she’ll be by herself. She’s never taken one by herself before,” a parent said.
This matter will soon be settled in court. But for now, it’s just one ride to school at a time.
A court hearing on the case is scheduled for Monday. Parts of Brooklyn and Queens are also affected.