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School bus complaint line hits 67,075 calls in four days, even chancellor can't get student to class on time

The New York Daily News - 9/14/2018

Sept. 14--Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza personally intervened to help a student with disabilities left stranded amid the city's yellow bus crisis, but even that child was late for school Thursday as problems again engulfed bus lines across the city.

Bronx dad Alphonso Reyes emailed Carranza Wednesday to complain of no-show buses for his disabled son, and Carranza wrote him back promising to address the issue immediately.

But it didn't happen.

On Thursday Reyes' son endured a ride lasting more than two hours just to get to school, and he arrived to class more than an hour late.

"It's great the chancellor emailed me back, but now what's going to happen?" fumed Reyes. "Kids are missing school and it's not fair."

Education Department officials said they would add a bus to speed the boy's route by Monday.

Reports of yellow bus nightmares surfaced around the city on the fifth day of class in the new school year.

One bus skipped its route entirely, showing up to Queens Public School 384 empty, where it was turned away by the school administration and sent back to pick up stranded students. Education Department officials later visited the school to intervene.

The city's busing complaint line was flooded with calls, receiving 67,075 calls in the first four days of school, compared to 56,443 calls in the same time frame last year.

School officials said more families were able to find the number since it was posted on social media this year. Parents reported hold times of more than two hours.

City Council Education Committee Chair Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) said he would conduct a probe of the matter and conduct a hearing to determine how the busing system failed and who should be held accountable.

And Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens), whose district was impacted by many delays, ripped the city's handing of the crisis. "Whoever is responsible for this debacle should be fired," he said.

Education Department officials couldn't give a tally of how many students or routes have been impacted by delays and no-shows since the start of the school year Sept. 5.

But Department spokeswoman Miranda Barbot said the city would be in "constant contact" with bus companies and families to address the problems.

"It's our responsibility to get the children on our school buses to school on time every day, and anything less is unacceptable," Barbot said. "We are working around the clock to fix ongoing delays, and have a lot more work to do."

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(c)2018 New York Daily News

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