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NYC Bus Drivers Strike Creates Transportation Frustrations For Parents

For Some, Commute To & From School Involved Cabs Or Public Transport
Tameka Carter takes her daughter to school on Wednesday, the first day of the school bus drivers strike. (credit: CBS 2)

Tameka Carter takes her daughter to school on Wednesday, the first day of the school bus drivers strike. (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was a frustrating day for parents and students across New York City as the school bus drivers strike forced thousands to find a new way to school.

That meant public transportation and big headaches for some.

“I actually feel more secure having the bus take me to school,” said student Sebastian Gomez.

For Gomez and his father Herman, the bus strike meant a stressful morning.

“We have to take the subway. Now, I’m going to be late to my job,” said Herman Gomez.

Some parents, however, took the strike in stride.

“This is day one. My husband and I are going to take turns taking him to school. It’s a pain, but I’m sure others have it worse than we do,” said Vivian Rottman.

She said taking the subway has its perks.

“It’s a lot faster than the bus,” Rottman said.

But for Suzanne Nossel, the strike meant productivity lost.

“It’s a big headache, my son goes to school crosstown and we had to create a carpool with other parents,” Nossel said. “I really hope it comes to a quick resolution.”

While bus drivers and matrons walked the picket line, Simone Matthews and her children had to walk to school.

“I have a 15-month-old baby and I had to come out in the rain to take my other son to school,” she said. “It’s an inconvenience, it will be difficult.”

It was already difficult for her son, he wanted to know why his bus was a no-show.

“He was like ‘Why are they going to strike?'” Matthews said.

She explained the drivers’ position.

“I know it’s beneficial for them, but we are the ones who suffer,” Matthews said.

“I had to get a cab,” said Alexandra Garcia.

Garcia’s wallet is eight dollars lighter after hailing a cab to take her little ones to school.  The two round trips a day totaled $32 in cab fare.

She and her children would prefer to take would the bus, but that’s not an option right now.

Other families across the city also scrambled to get students to class by any means possible.

“My daughter has difficulty with walking,” Jennifer McLeon said. “We couldn’t just walk to the train, I had to take a cab this morning which I probably will not be reimbursed for.”

B.J. Payne, a mother of two autistic boys who attend the Mickey Mantle School on the Upper West Side, took a crosstown bus to get her kids to school.

“They do really rely on that routine to get them through the day,” said Payne. “It was really a disruption. They were crying, fighting, hitting — with people just staring. It’s just a nightmare, I really hope this strike resolves fast.”

Many parents shuffled around their schedules to get their children to class and themselves to work on time.

“I had to wake up a little bit earlier and I still wound up getting here a little bit late,” one mother said. “Now I have to rush to work.”

Evalise Montalvo, of Washington Heights, fears she could lose her job because of the school bus strike. She took her 8-year-old son to school where the doors didn’t open until 7:55 a.m. — five minutes before she was expected at work.

“I will get written up at the job,” Montalvo said. “They don’t care about anything that’s going on.”

It was also a stressful day for Tameka Carter, who like every morning, had her hands full.

“I have four children in four different schools across Brooklyn,” she told CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian.

Three of her four children use bus companies that are not on strike, but the strike left Carter with no way to get her 13-year-old daughter Brianna to her special education school.

“I’m trying to figure out how I’m gonna pick her up and be back in time to pick up the other two,” Carter said.

Carter’s day involved taking multiple trips involving both subway trains and buses to drop off one her daughters before having to take her out of school early so she could be home to get her other daughters off the bus.

It’s a sacrifice, she said, that a mother makes.

“If I have to do it, I have to do it — cause my child needs her education,” Carter said.

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