New York City is paying more than $100 million to school bus companies that were forced to shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Post reports.
Officials reportedly said, according to the news source, the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) would have owed the companies 85% of contract costs during the shutdown, or $273 million for May and June, under contracts that were established before the pandemic. Instead, the city is paying 40% of contracts, or $106 million.
“We are required by law to provide bus service to our 60,000 students with disabilities, and tens of thousands of additional New York City children, including those in shelters, rely on us for transportation to and from schools,” Danielle Filson, a spokesperson for the NYC DOE, told The New York Post.
Filson added that the contracts, which were put into effect during the previous administration, must be upheld to ensure the city can continue school bus service.
In addition to the shutdown-induced payout, NYC will reportedly be required to pay school bus companies at least 43% of their contracts through 2025 if schools close for more than five days in a row, according to the news source. The money would go toward fixed costs such as utilities and driver benefits, officials told The New York Post.
Read the full story from The New York Post.