A representative for the school bus companies currently negotiating with a drivers' union tells NY1 that replacement bus drivers and matrons will run public school bus routes on Tuesday for the first time since the bus employees' strike begin nearly three weeks ago.
Bus companies spokesperson Carolyn Daly said Monday night that the replacement drivers and matrons finished their training that same day.
She also said picket line protests are expected to begin at 6 a.m. Tuesday at Staten Island Bus at 260 Meredith Avenue on Staten Island.
This comes as bus company representatives and members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 met at Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side on Monday and could only agree that Mayor Michael Bloomberg should be part of the talks.
The mayor arranged for the talks to take place in his official residence, but did not attend the meeting.
The union has been striking since January 16 to get an Employee Protection Provision (EPP) included in any city contract up for bids in order to save their jobs.
City officials say they cannot cannot legally do that.
Former Judge Milton Mollen, 93, mediated Monday's talks, just as he did for the last bus drivers' strike in 1979.
Michael Cordiello, the president of ATU Local 1181, says in a Monday statement that while the day's meeting was a "step in the right direction," the mayor and City Hall officials need to attend so all sides could "move towards a resolution and end this strike."
Peter Silverman, a representative of the school bus companies, echoed the point, saying, "We don't hold the keys to this strike. The city holds the keys to this. If the city gets involved, I think that would be productive and helpful."
The National Labor Relations Board is expected to rule on the bus companies' challenge of the strike in the coming days.
More than 150,000 students have been affected by the strike.
The Department of Education says city public schools had an overall attendance rate of 91.3 percent, but only 67.5 percent of students attended District 75 (special needs) schools.
Throughout the entire strike, there has been about a reduction of roughly 20 percentage points in District 75 schools' attendance.