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RTA Strike's Second Day Leaves Some DPS Students Stranded

Jess Mador/WYSO

The strike by Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority drivers and mechanics continued into a second day, Tuesday. School officials are working on contingency plans to help transport students to and from school safely. The RTA system came to a halt early Monday morning after talks between the union and RTA management stalled.

That’s left many of the more than four-thousand Dayton high school students who rely on RTA buses without transportation. High school attendance rates dropped nearly 8-percent on the strike’s first day.

Dunbar Early College High School juniors Briel Smith and Kiara Gilliam usually take the bus to school.

Since the strike began, their parents have been dropping them off. Smith says she's hoping the strike ends soon.

“I’m kind of worried about how some of the kids will get to school now, or how some people will get to work, because I know a lot of people don’t have transportation. We need our buses back," says Smith.

"Yes, we need our buses back,” says Gilliam, who hasn't been able to make it to her after-school job at a fast-food restaurant across town because of the strike.

DPS officials say churches and community organizations have offered to help by transporting stranded students in vans and buses.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1385 has been operating without a contract for about two years.

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.
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