New companies taking over bankrupt firm’s routes
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A potentially messy situation stemming from a school bus company’s bankruptcy that could have left 40,000 students without a way to get to and from their classes has been averted, according to state Sen. Simcha Felder.
Felder said an agreement has been reached to re-assign the 1,600 bus routes handled by Atlantic Express to other school bus companies.
Atlantic Express declared bankruptcy in November. The company blamed rising labor costs and the contract bidding process in New York’s public school system for its financial woes, according to Nasdaq's website, which reported that Atlantic Express had operated school buses in five states.
The bankruptcy means that Atlantic Express will no longer be putting school buses on the road in New York City as of Jan. 2, the day children return to school from the holiday break, Felder (D-Borough Park-Midwood) said. Felder is chairman of both the New York City Education Subcommittee and the Children and Families Committee in the senate.
Felder worked with Councilman David Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood-Bensonhurst) and Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park-Midwood) to push the New York City Department of Education (DOE) and its Office of Pupil Transportation to come up with a solution before classes resume next week.
All three lawmakers represent Borough Park, a predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood with large numbers of children who attend yeshivas and who rely of yellow school buses to take them to and from school.
But Felder said the situation regarding Atlantic Express could have had serious ramifications for children in neighborhoods all across the city.
“I am delighted that the Department of Education and the Office of Pupil Transportation were able to head-off what could have been a disastrous nightmare for parents and children across New York City,” Felder said. “This is an example of government at its finest, of what can be achieved when people work toward a common goal."
Hikind praised the DOE for its “common-sense and expeditious resolution” of the school bus dilemma.
"I want to thank Senator Felder for working with me to make sure that yeshiva school bus service would not be interrupted,” Greenfield said. He added that the DOE deserved credit for “working overtime to resolve these problems and ensure that all of our yeshiva children will get to school on time with yellow bus service.”