By COLlive staff
The New York City Council recently passed landmark legislation co-sponsored by Councilmembers Ben Kallos, Chaim Deutsch, and Mark Treyger that will require tracking devices to be installed on yellow buses that transport students to and from schools.
The bill had been introduced multiple times during the last several Council sessions by former Councilmember Michael Nelson, in conjunction with his then-staffer, current Councilmember Chaim Deutsch.
The current bill aims to tackle a serious concern, particularly at the beginning of the school year, when buses are routinely late, and parents have no idea where their children are.
The situation has escalated in the past several years, with 82,000 complaints from parents in just the first few weeks of the 2018-19 school year, a 19% increase compared to the previous year. And this is not just a problem that parents and students experience at the beginning of the school year.
Parents often have no indication of where their children might be for hours, as they are in transit traveling to and from school. During a snowstorm in November, for example, some students were stuck on buses for up to ten hours, as parents frantically tried to track down their missing children.
“As a father of five children, I’ve felt that fear of not knowing where my child is,” said Councilmember Deutsch who serves as Chair of the Veterans Committee and the NYC Council Jewish Caucus.
“Putting your precious child onto a school bus should not have to be a scary experience. The bottom line is, parents deserve to know where their children are. In cold or inclement weather, parents should not be left standing at a bus stop for absurd lengths of time, when there is a simple way to avoid that inconvenience.”
Deutsch, who represents Southern Brooklyn, said installing GPS on school buses is inexpensive. “While previous Councils have put politics before practicality, kudos to Speaker Corey Johnson for putting New York City children first,” he said.
Councilmember Ben Kallos said, “No parent should wonder where their child is or when their child is finally getting home from a school bus ride gone off track. Parents would rest assured knowing when and where their child’s school bus is using an app on their phone. Sometimes the biggest problems have simple solutions, I am confident this package of legislation will make a real difference in the lives of kids and parents throughout our City.
The law will require both a two-way radio and a tracking device on every school bus transporting New York City students, and will allow authorized parents access to the information in real time. The newly passed bill will take effect for the upcoming 2019-20 school year.