Change of NYC Traffic Rules - School Buses on Belt Parkway
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For many years New York City Police Department Highway Unit and New York State Police officers have been targeting School Buses on certain parkways in New York City by issuing multiple summonses under the governing rules of New York City Department of Transportation Rules Title 34 Chapter 4 Section 14. (NYCTRR) 14-4(B)(4) Bus on Park/Parkway.
According to the NYC issued Highway Permits, certain parkways including Belt Pkwy in Brooklyn, NY of Kings county prohibit School Buses to travel without children. School bus drivers are issued either 1 or more of the same citations for travelling on Parkways.
“Commercial vehicles are prohibited from using the portion of the limited-arterial highway network commonly referred to as the Parkway System. This system includes the Belt Parkway, F.D.R. Drive, Henry Hudson Parkway, Cross Island Parkway, Jackie Robinson Parkway, Bronx River Parkway, Hutchinson River Parkway, Mosholu Parkway, Pelham Parkway, Ocean Parkway, Korean War Veterans Parkway, and the Grand Central Parkway.”
School Bus companies statewide are in deficit and struggle to keep drivers employed due to high traffic congestions, irregular hours of operation, minimum wage, accidents, license revocations, and other daily struggles. School bus drivers wake up early in the morning (at 3am, 4am, 5am, etc.) and travel for many hours and miles across different highways, streets, and parkways to the pick-up children all over the city.
For example, if a school bus company base is located in Brooklyn, NY, the buses have to travel to Queens, Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island, and Staten Island, for the first pick-up. It is impossible for drivers to travel long distances and to get from one borough to another by taking service roads and streets. Travelling locally from one Borough to another creates more traffic congestions, more fuel emmissions, and more fatigue drivers, thus resulting in school bus related accidents.
School bus drivers begin employment with a minimum wage salary (depending on the company) and work early mornings to accomodate the Department of Education schedule of school arrival times.
Many New York City based companies are facing strikes and shortage of drivers due to the amount of citations (that most cannot pay for) and the reasons stated above. Enforcing parkway restrictions on school bus drivers will create more unemployment, more delays, and more out-of-business school bus companies. Most important, many children will mot attend schools if many drivers decide to terminate their employment continiouslt.
For example, if a school bus company is based in Brooklyn, NY and the first pick-up of a child is in the Bronx, depending on the location, it would take hours to get to the Bronx, which means the driver has to spend more hours to get to the first child; by waking up at least 2 hours earlier to travel locally. Drivers cannot spend their life at the bus yard.
An average school bus driver’s day ends from 5pm to 9pm and sometimes later. As a result, the drivers cannot have a work-life balance, they become sleep deprived, and do not attend work the following day. If they do, many drivers face accidents on the road and sometimes may become ill.
School buses whether small or full size are designed to travel under most bridges, tunnels, and overpaths. It is unecessary to enforce and prohibit drivers to travel (with or without) children on board on parkways (especially Belt Parkway that connects major Boroughs and Schools).
New York City Department of Transportation needs to elliminate and revise rules and regulations that prohibit School Buses from travelling on Parkways. Unless the height clearance does not meet the safety requirements, there is no logic reasons as to why the School Buses should not travel on Parkways).
If this issue is not taken into consideration, many school bus companies will go out of business, many drivers will quit, and more children will be likely to miss school days.
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