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Bronx Mother Of Student With Autism Says It's Time New York City Move Forward With GPS School Bus Tracking

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- We've heard of many children struggling to catch up after they lost time in the classroom during the pandemic.

But now, one Bronx mom says her son, who has special needs, is facing yet another hurdle.

His school bus is chronically late and she told CBS2's Lisa Rozner the solution is something the city promised to do years ago.

Silvia Guerrero tracks her son, Aaden Acevedo, who is on the autism spectrum. Every day he is supposed to be picked up in the Allerton section of the of the borough at around 6:55 a.m. and arrive at his East Harlem school by 8:20 a.m. That's 1 hour and 25 minutes without delays.

But for the first half of the school year, "There was a 17-minute late arrival, there was also a 30-something-minute late arrival," Guerrero said. "And now, instead of getting academic instruction, he's sitting on the bus. And even 10 minutes a day, that's 50 minutes a week."

Recently, the Office of Pupil Transportation did adjust the route and removed one stop, but Guerrero said it didn't change much.

"My son is extremely anxious. He has come off the bus with bathroom incidents," Guerrero said.

Aaden shook his head when Rozner asked if he likes the bus, adding, "because it's too long for me."

The assistant principal told her the school is unable to help, and it's up to OPT to make changes.

"They have procedures in place that should be reported when they're late," Guerrero said.

She pointed to a law that was supposed to take effect in fall of 2019 that mandated the city equip its nearly 10,000 buses with GPS tracking, providing transparency to parents about their children's whereabouts.

A contract was awarded to the ride-sharing company Via. The bill was signed shortly after the notorious November 2018 snowstorm, when kids were stranded on buses well past midnight.

Councilman Ben Kallos sponsored the bill.

"We've been in touch with OPT for the last couple of months because this isn't the only family. There are countless families," Kallos told CBS2 by phone. "The idea that they just can't hand every single driver a phone or let the drivers use an app from Via, it's mind boggling."

A Department of Education spokesperson told CBS2, in part, "Every student deserves timely transportation, and we're working closely with families, bus companies and schools to ensure a safe and efficient experience for all students. Anything less is unacceptable. We are looking into this situation and will address any issues as soon as possible."

The city said the pandemic postponed the GPS bus tracking system, but it began the project again this past spring. For more information on the system, please click here.

Rozner asked a spokesperson for Mayor-elect Eric Adams if he would fast track it, but he did not get back to us. Neither did Via.

Also, the city said Aaden was on time to school Thursday, but his mom said it was a rare occurrence.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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