New York City has reached a deal to buy out the city’s largest school bus contractor, Reliant Transportation, in a bid to operate part of the school system’s yellow bus fleet.
The purchase of Reliant, which operates roughly 1,000 school buses across 950 routes, is set to go through in the first half of 2021, according to the New York Post.
“This is a long-term investment that will gradually phase in and provide greater stability and oversight in school bus service in the years ahead,” schools Chancellor Richard Carranza told the paper.
The Post noted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has long criticized the system of contracting out school bus service to a patchwork of private providers, describing the arrangement as “arcane.”
And the mayor has been blasted for his ties to Alex Lodde, the President of Reliant parent company MV Transportation, which is headquartered in Texas. Lodde donated $100,000 to de Blasio’s 2014 effort to turn the state Senate Democratic, according to the Post.
The city’s yellow bus system, which transports roughly 150,000 students a day in normal circumstances, has been dogged by spotty performance and lax oversight.
Earlier this month, the city agreed to pay more than $100 million to school bus providers after cutting off payments last spring when schools were shuttered, forcing the companies to furlough thousands of workers.