School Bus Contractors Support Dedicated Lane on NY Bridge

The Mario Cuomo Bridge under construction during the spring. (Image taken by Wikipedia user SteveStrummer - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0)

New York school bus contractors are sharing why they are in favor of school buses being allowed to use a proposed bus-only lane on the Mario Cuomo Bridge.

The New York School Bus Contractors Association sent a letter to the New York State Department of Transportation and released a statement saying that it was strongly in favor of school buses being allowed to use a dedicated bus lane that is being considered for addition to the Mario Cuomo Bridge, also known as the New Tappan Zee Bridge. It spans the Hudson River and connects the counties of Westchester and Rockland.

Transit buses, motor coaches and emergency vehicles would be allowed on the bus lane, but NYSBCA President Bree Allen pointed out that “allowing school buses to travel in a less congested, bus-only-lane, will be safer for our passengers and help reduce congestion on the bridge during the busiest times of the day.”

Velcoach is a private school bus contractor that provides student busing services across the Hudson River. Company Manager Jill Aney shared with School Transportation News that it would “absolutely” be helpful if school buses could use the bus lane on the bridge.

Some advantages Aney pinpointed were savings in fuel and later pick-up times for children. “I have to give myself a 35-minute window just to anticipate kids getting stuck in traffic and not getting to school on time,” she explained.

A faster, smoother bus ride would also help in preventing frustration and meltdowns by the many special-needs students Velcoach transports, Aney added. “It’s a win-win situation all around,” she said.

“Our members have decades of experience and knowledge, and we stand ready to assist the Department of Transportation and the state of New York with industry-specific data or technical assistance as they consider the dedicated bus lane on the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge,” added NYSBCA’s Allen. “We are optimistic that student safety will be strongly considered, and school buses will be included in their final recommendations should the lane come to fruition.”

The state government is also under fire for renaming the bridge from the Tappan Zee Bridge to the Mario Cuomo Bridge. A petition to change the name back to the Tappen Zee has collected over 101,000 signatures to date.