New York, NY – The free rides are over.
The city is booting more than 5,000 seventh- and eighth-graders from its yellow buses come September, hoping to trim $3.4 million from a massive shortfall in next year’s budget.
The cuts — hitting at least 65 public and private schools — will end what was a courtesy for students in schools hard to reach by mass transit.
Even though the city has delivered the service to thousands of students since 1993, it is legally required to provide busing only through the sixth grade.
Sue Dietrich, recording secretary for the Staten Island Federation of Parent Teacher Associations, said some students would be forced to walk a mile and half to school.
“In the mornings, when it’s dark and cold and snowy and raining, it’s a long way for a seventh-grader to go,” she said.
Staten Island would be hardest hit — with nearly 3,000 kids in 47 schools affected — while 900 students in Queens, a similar number in Brooklyn and about 450 in The Bronx would lose the service.
Kids bumped from the buses can get free or discounted MetroCards for public transportation, and can also seek an exception to the yellow-bus ban.