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October 10, 2013  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Striking Boston bus drivers return to work

By Kelly Roher


BOSTON — School bus service for Boston Public Schools (BPS) has resumed after drivers who went on strike earlier this week have returned to work.

As SBF reported on Tuesday, about 300 drivers who serve the school district and are members of United Steelworkers of America Local 8751 walked off the job. The action was thought to be connected to the union’s opposition to changes being made at the district’s transportation department by contractor Veolia Transportation.

The disruption in service impacted nearly half of the 33,000 students who receive yellow bus service.  

On Tuesday afternoon, BPS said that Mayor Thomas Menino, Interim Superintendent John McDonough and Veolia were taking several actions immediately, including filing an immediate injunction to compel drivers to return to work.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that a federal judge turned down Veolia’s request to force the drivers back to work.

Now, the district reports that all routes are expected to run normally on Thursday afternoon, and parents were encouraged to use the “Where’s My School Bus?” app at to check the status of their bus, or call the transportation hotline at (617) 635-9520.

The drivers' union told AP that drivers agreed to return to work after Veolia agreed to meet with the union on Wednesday to discuss grievances.

Officials said that schools opened one hour early on Thursday morning to help parents drop off their children, but schools will be dismissed at their regular times.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is continuing to offer free rides to any BPS student. Children under 11 must have an adult with them.

In addition, the Boston Police Department and Boston Centers for Youth & Families continue to coordinate closely with the transportation department to ensure safe drop-offs and pickups.

The district noted that it does not have confidence that service will continue every day, and parents were encouraged to have alternate plans in place.

Automated phone calls will be sent in the event of a service disruption.

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