When schoolchildren in Bellmore and Merrick return to classes on Monday following their holiday recess, a new bus company will transport them to and from school.
The change comes after Atlantic Express Transportation Corp., the Staten Island-based former carrier for the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School, Bellmore, North Bellmore, Merrick and North Merrick school districts, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 4 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
The court auctioned off Atlantic’s assets and school district contracts, and in early December it awarded Bellmore-Merrick Central’s contract to the Logan Bus Company, as it did school district contracts in East Meadow, Oceanside and Uniondale. The Bellmore-Merrick Central District handles busing for its four component districts. A Logan subsidiary, Guardian Bus Company, will administer the routes, operating out of a newly purchased bus depot at 3678 Oceanside Road in Oceanside.
Corey Muirhead, a spokesman for Logan Bus Company, said that it would retain more than 80 percent of Atlantic’s workers, and that the company aims to keep the same drivers and dispatchers on each route. “That’s the promise we have made,” Muirhead said. “We’re having a great retention right now with getting the same people.”
In a letter, Bellmore-Merrick Central officials promised parents that “in most cases, [your child’s] bus driver will be the same person.”
“Pick-up, drop-off times, routes and assigned bus stops will remain the same,” the letter stated. It also sought to assure parents that Logan was qualified, equipped and trained for the job.
“Logan Bus Company has been providing bus transportation to children since 1970,” the letter read. “They have been responsible for the busing of thousands of children throughout New York City … Logan Bus Company provides extensive training to their drivers and bus attendants. They place the highest priority on safety.”
The Merrick and Bellmore school districts distributed a similar letter to parents. North Bellmore School District officials explained the change to parents at a Dec. 12 Board of Education meeting.