Relieved Mayor Bloomberg: 'It's The Kids That Have Won'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City school buses will roll in force on Wednesday morning, for the first time in a whole month.

Bus drivers and matrons represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 suspended their strike on Friday of last week.

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On Wednesday morning, nearly 150,000 affected students will have service back.

As 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reported, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the end of the school bus strike means the city will have more money to put into the classroom.

“That’s what we should be doing. We should be constantly trying to find ways to reduce our expenses where we would prefer not to have them, and to put them into things that we want to provide; the services that the public – in this case, the kids – need,” Bloomberg said.

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With bus service resuming, the mayor summed up, “It’s the kids that have won.”

Some 8,000 bus drivers and aides went on strike Jan. 16. The union wanted the city to include protections for current employees in future contracts with bus companies. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said a court ruling prohibited the city from doing so. The bone of contention was over the city’s plan to put bus contracts out to bid to lower costs. That issue has not yet been resolved despite the strike ending.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the city spent more than $20 million on MetroCards and reimbursements for parents who had to use taxis and gas.

But Walcott noted that the city actually saved $80 million during the strike because it didn’t have to pay the bus drivers.

The city spends nearly $7,000 a year for each student on a bus, far more than any other city. The mayor wants to rein in the costs and eliminate job protection.

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