Bloomberg says publicly bid bus contracts will save $210 million

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New school busing contracts will save the city $210 million over the next five years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and schools chancellor Dennis Walcott announced Monday. 

The busing contracts were opened to public bidding for the first time since 1979 last spring. 

Bloomberg also announced on Monday that he plans to open expiring bus contracts to public bidding; those contracts include 4,100 routes for yellow school buses which serve 39,000 students with disabilities and 96,000 general education students.

"When we released the bids for new bus contracts, we broke a three-decade stranglehold that exploited taxpayers and took money out of the classroom, where it belongs,” Bloomberg said in a statement. 

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The bus drivers' union went out on strike earlier this year when the Bloomberg administration refused its demand to consider seniority in the awarding of future contracts. 

At the time, the Democratic mayoral candidates, including Bill de Blasio, pledged to address the union's concerns "within the bidding process" in the future. 

The D.O.E. currently has contracts for 7,700 bus routes serving 152,000 students.