— Atlantic Express says it will close by the end of the year.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Atlantic Express Transportation Corp. and its unionized drivers were unable to reach a new contract agreement on Wednesday, and as a result, the more than 40-year-old bus operator on Staten Island said it will be shut down. The closure will leave 1,000 bus drivers with Staten Island routes out of work and hoards of South Shore commuters who rely on two express routes — X24 and X22 — literally out in the cold. Local 1181-1061, Amalgamated Transit Union voted against Atlantic Express Bus Co.’s contract offer at a membership meeting on Wednesday, said Carolyn Daly.
Our goal was two-fold: to enable Atlantic Express to continue our operations in a competitive and financially stable structure to ensure we continued our leadership in the school bus industry while preserving jobs and our company,” said Ms. Daly. “We gave the union our best offer, which was significantly better than what the new companies in the industry are providing. The Port Richmond-based Atlantic Express Transportation Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 5. The company, which has operations in New York, as well as various other states, sent letters to its 5,500 employees last month stating that there will be a “complete shutdown of its operations,” come Dec 31. In addition to commuter bus routes and charter services, Atlantic Express has a contract with the city to provide school bus service. However, last month the city put 4,100 school bus routes out to bid
Ms. Daly said last month that the bid has directly impacted Atlantic Express Bus Co.’s bottom line “because non-union companies can now compete for bus routes for lower prices, while Atlantic Express is tied to its union contract.” “We have the highest paid workforce in the country, which is a big part of our financial burden. We can’t compete (for the city bus route bids) because we have all these obligations with the union,” she said last month.
Founded in 1964, Atlantic Express is the fourth-largest school bus corporation and the largest American-owned pupil transportation operation.
Sources—red state, erik Erickson, tracey porpora