With a school bus strike expected Wednesday, the city is making MetroCards available to students starting today so they can still get to school. Parents are also getting MetroCards so they accompany very young children or students with disabilities.
At a news conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the first day of the strike will likely be difficult.
"They're predicting tough weather tomorrow," he said. "We will have MetroCards for our students, we will have parents who will have MetroCards. We'll reimburse our parents 55 cents per mile, they'll be able to submit travel reimbursement forms for the use of any type of car service."
Parents will be able to pick up MetroCards starting Wednesday for subways, but the cards won't work for city buses until Thursday. The D.O.E.'s website allows parents to access specific information about their child's bus route because some buses are not driven by members of the striking union, Local 1181.
The vast majority of routes, however, are covered by companies that employ 1181 drivers and escorts (for students with special needs).
The city has told car services to expect extra demand. It's also planning to post extra crossing guards outside schools. Union workers are expected to picket outside bus depots.
Here is the letter the D.O.E. is sending home in students' backpacks: