NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza was on the hot seat Tuesday. He was grilled by the City Council about the frustrating bus delays and other mishaps that have infuriated parents.
Carranza started with a mea culpa.
“I apologize, as I have in the past, to all students and families that were negatively affected,” Carranza said.
He followed with a pledge to find solutions to no-show school buses, multi-hour trips, bus drivers hired despite convictions for drunk driving and domestic violence, and all the other transportation woes that marred the start of the school year, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
“Though I’ve only been here for six months, I guarantee you we are going to get to the root cause and we are going to fix this system,” Carranza said.
But that didn’t shield him from the wrath of Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who was furious about the bus debacle.
“This has been the status quo for too long. It is unacceptable and it must change,” Johnson said.
Particularly galling to Johnson was the fact that last month city schools experienced the highest number of daily school bus delays — 623 compared to 482 in September 2017.
“Frustrated? I mean, we have 1.1 million school children in New York City,” Johnson said. “We need answers. We need results, because families and children depend on it.”
The council is seeking answers to such basic questions, like why school bus drivers aren’t given their routes with enough time before the school year starts to practice driving them.
The chancellor appeared with Kevin Moran, the new head of school busing, but he also endeavored to lower expectations.
“I just want to make sure that we level set. If the expectation is that there will be zero delays at the start of the school year we’re going to grossly let you down,” Carranza said.
The council is considering a package of bills to improve service, including adding GPS and apps so parents can track their kids.
Education officials announced that they’ve launched a new Twitter handle — @nycschoolbuses — to better communicate with parents about events that might impact bus service, prompting the council speaker to warn to be careful what you wish for.