School officials pursue other bus options amid strike
As the bus drivers' strike hits the two-week mark, and with no end in sight, the school board is now going ahead with a plan b. "We haven't gotten a result and so now we have to move on, and we'll have to find a new company that
Thursday, October 11th 2018, 1:40 AM EDT by
Thursday, October 11th 2018, 1:54 AM EDT
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -- As the bus drivers' strike hits the two-week mark, and with no end in sight, the school board is now going ahead with a plan b.
The board voted to solicit transportation bids in a new way--by accepting one bid solely for a fleet of buses, and a totally separate bid from a vendor that would provide and manage drivers, or a single bidder offering both. The board also wants to remove the requirement the bus yard be in Providence.
"If someone came in with 200 buses that could serve us right away, it would be my ambition to do business with them as soon as possible," said Hemond.
Mayor Jorge Elorza says if First Student and the union are going to come to terms, it needs to happen by Friday--or the city will stop providing resources to help make a deal.
In a statement First Student says it shares the mayor's desire to see a swift resolution, and the company has been in touch with the Teamsters to continue negotiations.
"I know my drivers would love for it to end by the end of the week," said Teamsters business agent Nick Williams. "Are our members willing to compromise is the question, and right now, no. No, they're not."
All this is happening as the ACLU takes legal action against the state, saying Providence isn't providing adequate transportation for students with disabilities, like Constance Young's son, who's in a wheelchair.
"I have just been tearing my hair out trying to figure out how he's going to get to school, if he can go to school," said Young.
Wednesday night the school board also voted to form a group to possibly change how the district assigns students to schools, to try and cut down on how many students have to be bussed in the first place.
© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018