Updated 01/16/2013 09:55 PM
Students Left Without Yellow Bus Service Brave Brooklyn Subways
One option for students impacted by the bus strike on Wednesday was to take the subway to school, and NY1 followed a sixth-grade student in the Bath Beach section of Brooklyn as she braved the trip for the first time. Borough reporter Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
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Ever since she was in kindergarten, Bath Beach resident Leah Ross has always taken a yellow bus to school. But on Wednesday morning, the sixth grader had to find a new way to travel.
"It's the first time I've taken the subway to school," Leah said.
Leah's mother Marie went with her for this inaugural trip. First they walked to the Bay Parkway station, about six blocks from home. They got on the D train and headed to the last stop, Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island. Then they walked a dozen more blocks to I.S. 239, The Mark Twain School.
"We were obliged to re-organize and take the subway to Coney Island, instead of the yellow bus and then come back, take the subway again. So it's more complicated," Marie Ross said.
It is also costly. While the school gave Leah a MetroCard, her mother had to pay her own way back and forth for both morning and afternoon commutes.
"We hope that it ends soon," Leah said.
The city is preparing for a worst-case scenario. The expiration date on Leah's MetroCard reads June 26, the last day of school. The walk to school from the Stillwell Avenue stop took them right through a bus drivers union protest.
Leah arrived at school about five minutes late with dozens of other students, including a boy who took a car service from East Flatbush.
"Since the buses are on strike, I have to take car service now," he said, saying the one-way ride cost $20.
Department Of Education officials said they will reimburse transportation costs, but first the boy's family would have to shell out $40 every day.
City Councilman Domenic Recchia, whose district includes Coney Island, said the timing is terrible.
"In parts of Brooklyn, we just got hit with superstorm Sandy, now we're hit with this bus strike," Recchia said. "Parents don't have money to hire a car service to pay someone to take their kids to school, in my district people need every dollar to get their house back up and running."
Now they are also running around to get their children to school.
In the end, it took Leah three train stops and a walk of about 18 blocks to get to school. Meanwhile, her school bus stop is only two blocks away.