This is our daily update following the reopening of NYC schools for Wednesday, October 14th, 2020.

Here's the latest:

The city Department of Education has signed a new deal with the city’s biggest school bus operator Reliant Transportation to acquire its 1,000-vehicle fleet and all related equipment in a contract city officials hailed as a “long-term investment.”

The amount of the contract was not revealed by the DOE, which said it’s a “tentative agreement.” It’s expected to be finalized in the first half of 2021.

New York City usually spends about $1.25 billion dollars every year on providing school bus service for about 150,000 public school students.

The Daily News reported last year that Reliant Transportation had a $120 million annual contract in the last fiscal year, though the company has been beset by complaints of delays and bus breakdowns.

Reliant runs roughly 950 bus routes in the city, or about ten percent of the total school bus network, serving 15,000 students. The buses are mainly used to transport students with special needs.

“We are doing everything we can to guarantee safe, fast, and reliable bus service for the students who need it most,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press release Monday hailing the acquisition. “This agreement delivers on that promise and makes a lasting investment in our school communities for years to come.”

The DOE had canceled bus contracts with the city in March when schools were shuttered because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month the city established the New York City School Bus Umbrella Services, Inc., a not-for-profit agency to handle school bus inventory and staffing. NYCSBUS will work with current Reliant staffers to transition employment, and develop acceptable collective bargaining agreement terms.

“So many of our students rely on yellow bus service to get safely to and from school, and this is an important step in securing that service for our students in the years to come,” said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza in the release. “This is a long-term investment that will gradually phase in and provide greater stability and oversight in school bus service in the years ahead.”

“The City’s strategic investment in bussing comes at an important time when the need for safe transportation of its students is at its greatest,” said Tom Egan, Chief Executive Officer for Reliant parent company MV Transportation in the release. “This transaction culminates Reliant’s successful longstanding partnership with the New York Department of Education and provides our dedicated and experienced workers with expanded opportunities to serve the students in their care.”

Another MV Transportation executive, Alex Lodde, contributed to de Blasio's efforts to flip the state Senate to Democrats in 2014 with $100,000 in donations to the Putnam County Democratic Committee.