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More Angst: Mayor Bloomberg Warns Of Potential School Bus Drivers’ Strike

If A Walkout Does Happen, More Than 150,000 Students Will Be Affected
Children ride a school bus in NYC (Photo credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Children ride a school bus in NYC (Photo credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The wheels on New York City school buses could stop going round and round first thing in the New Year.

The school buses, which navigate the second largest bus route system in the world, according to the city, may come to a screeching halt, right after the holidays. That’s because the drivers’ union is threatening to strike, CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported Friday.

“In a year when our students have already missed a week or more of school because of Hurricane Sandy, striking against our school children we think would be totally irresponsible,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb: 152,000 Students Would Be Affected

The city now spends more than $1 billion a year to bus 152,000 students each day and efforts to seek lower bus contract bids are butting up against union job guarantees ensuring experienced staff on city school buses.

“We just cannot afford what this has cost us so far and we think by putting it up for competitive bidding we will be able to do better,” Bloomberg said.

But is there going to be a city school bus strike?  Michael Cardiella, the head of the union didn’t want to talk on camera Friday, but he did tell CBS 2’s Langford no decision has been made about walking off the job.

Despite that, the mere mention of a school bus strike is enough to keep parents up at night.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” one mother said.

“It’s going to put us in a difficult situation, very bad,” parent Michele Grady added.

The city said it’s preparing for a strike, offering parents everything from MetroCards to taxi fares.

“Children who are unable to attend school because of disruptions to yellow bus service will be marked absent with an explanation code that will ensure their attendance record is not negatively affected,” Bloomberg said.

This situation is turning into NYC schools’ own schools fiscal cliff.

Local 11-81 of the Amalgamated Transit Union said it cannot stand by while city officials cut costs at the expense of our children.

Will you be affected if school bus drivers go on strike? Let us know below.