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Yonkers Students, Parents Say Bus Routes Need Work

YONKERS, N.Y. – Getting to Yonkers Middle/High School before and after school is no walk in the park, students and parents say.

A lack of bus routes on Westchester County's Bee-Line system has left students stranded or riding crowded buses for more than an hour to get to and from the Rockland Avenue school, concerned parents say.

Even worse, many students are transferring buses in Getty Square or walking through Spruce Street in the Nodine Hill neighborhood to catch a ride, said Marla Hurban, president of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Yonkers Middle/High School.

“Some of the students are walking through some very dangerous neighborhoods to get home,” she said.

Officials from Westchester County's Department of Public Works and Transportation, owners of the Bee-Line system, were not immediately available for comment.

Parents say the transportation problem started last year when yellow buses for high school students were eliminated because of the district’s money crunch. Now Yonkers’ older students are responsible for finding their own way to school and back home again.

For Yonkers Middle/High School students living on Central Park Avenue, that means taking two routes and transferring buses in Getty Square. Students living on the east side of the city, near Palmer Road, must take a nearly hour-and-a-half trip to school, Hurban said.

And with no late buses, athletes or students looking for after-school help are often left stranded.

“The problem basically is the Bee-Line bus system has been either unwilling or unable to change some of the bus routes to make it more efficient for students to get home or to school,” Hurban said.

Last week, Kimberly Cruz, an eighth-grader at Yonkers Middle/High School, wondered what, if anything, could be done about the routes.

“They (students) often switch in Getty Square, and it is very dangerous for them,” she told Superintendent of Schools Bernard Pierorazio at a community forum.

Pierorazio said school administrators have talked to Bee-Line about creating more direct routes to the high school, and the district “is still having those talks.”

Hurban said the PTSA was also having discussions of its own. But so far, she said, it’s been to no avail.

“The kids and parents are complaining, and we’re trying to get help,” she said. “But it just doesn’t seem to go anywhere.”

Still, it’s not only the routes that create a burden on Yonkers High families, parents say. The cost for the Yonkers Public Schools Student MetroCard is $50 each month, or $500 for the school year.

“This is a working-class city,” Hurban said. “It creates a hardship for some of our families.”

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