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Transit Union Calls Bloomberg's NYC School Bus Plan Misleading

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A new report released by a transit union claims that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's city school bus plan will actually cost taxpayers millions of dollars while jeopardizing students' safety.

The study by Peter Donohue of San Francisco's PBI Associates for the Amalgamated Transit Union said changes to the school bus service contracts will increase costs between $60 million and $239 million and not save the $20 million to $40 million as the mayor claims.

Transit Union Calls Bloomberg's NYC School Bus Plan Misleading

Donohue said part of the estimated net loss included the cost of unemployment and food stamps that would be given to those who would lose their jobs under a change of contracts, 1010 WINS' Gary Baumgarten reported.

"Roughly a total cost of about $370 million additional in the first three years of this proposal," Donohue told Baumgarten.

"Mayor Bloomberg is intentionally misleading New Yorkers to believe his school bus plan will save the city millions, while falsely blaming school bus workers for rising costs and threatening the safety of students," ATU International President Larry Hanley said.

The report documents that the departure of experienced school bus workers for new, inexperienced hires would increase the city's liabilities, small claims and insurance premiums. It would also lead to an increase in worker turnover leading to higher administrative overhead costs, according to the report.

Donohue did concede that it is time to review the contracts. The last time they were reviewed was in the 1970s, Baumgarten reported.

The New York City Board Of Education released a statement regarding the contracts, calling the transit union's report erroneous.

"The last time bus routes were bid out was around the time the Walkman was invented in the 1970s -- and the resulting monopolies over those routes drove city busing costs to the highest of any city in the nation...The budget with these savings has been validated by the Independent Budget Office, and this is nothing more than an attempt to distort reality," the BOE said.

This will all fall into the lap of incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio, Baumgarten reported. His spokesperson said he has not yet reviewed the contracts.

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