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New York had it first school bus strike after 34 years. Called by Mayor Bloomberg, the strike has left disabled children without transport causing their activity to come to a complete standstill. Subways do not offer access to elevators and taxis do not provide adequate storage space for wheelchairs, whereas the school bus service accommodated disabled childrens’ special requirements.
A reported one half of the student population of special education schools was unable to attend their schools on Wednesday. 18-year-old Brandon who suffers from cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair is one of the victims of the strike. His mother complained that without his regular physical therapy his legs seize up causing pain.
The city plans to provide the bus service with replacement drivers. However these disabled students, many of which are unable to express themselves and have multiple disabilities, require supervision through escorts with special training. Despite these issues the second day of the strike ended without any resolution. It is expected that on Friday, a ruling passed might end the strike.
Transit Union Local 1181 called the strike with the intent of creating private bus contracts to increase revenues and safeguard the jobs and salaries of veteran drivers and escorts. While the city was successful in providing replacement transport for tens of thousands of students, the striking union were determined to keep their efforts at bay blocking off buses at depots so that only 2,320 routes were completed on Thursday, while 3000 had been completed on Wednesday.