September 2, 2021
We are United Steelworkers Local 8751, the Boston school bus drivers’ union, the hard working women and men who have been serving the City for over four decades providing safe, on-time transportation for tens of thousands of children.
Routing for the 2021 – 2022 school year is by far the worst fiasco we’ve witnessed in our careers.
These issues were raised at the School Committee meeting last night and are now in the news.
For months this summer we have been imploring the bus company and BPS to provide the union with genuine routing for the schools this September. It has been a long-established practice that the parties have pre-bid meetings several weeks before a bid for feedback, corrections, and quality control. Only at the last minute, on Tuesday, August 24th, did they provide routes for a driver bid selection. On August 30, 31 and September 1, the bus company conducted its annual route bid for the drivers. It was a completely tainted bid.
In meetings today with our employer Transdev and their client Boston Public Schools, in an act of due diligence we requested detailed information on their massive routing problems. Just last week we learned that the company had 100+ additional routes than last year, with no explanation for the increase. We’ve heard of no additional schools nor an increase in the student population. It would appear that it was the result of mismanagement and incompetent routing. By their own admission at the table today, they routed children who did not require transportation, some who have graduated, some who have moved.
Transdev and BPS have not told the Union what measures they are taking to correct these routing problems nor a time schedule for a fix.
In addition, the Union has learned that the City / BPS has contracted with additional bus companies for some number of public charter schools in violation of their agreement with our Union, an agreement which has guaranteed continuity and stability since 1991 for the students and families of Boston.
This transportation chaos is happening in the context of an historic pandemic. The Union has also demanded COVID-19 routing measures, like additional start time prior to the morning and afternoon trips and a fair COVID-19 quarantine policy.
BPS must immediately correct all routing problems and correct their tainted bid. Both to devise a reasonable and responsible routing policy toward COVID-19, which is now spiking, and to fix the transportation routing mismanagement problems at BPS, we believe the opening of in-person BPS should be postponed.