In the latest case, the attorney general is suing three New York City bus companies over violations of state and city anti-idling laws that disproportionately harm low-income communities of color. New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit claims that the owners of Jofaz Transportation, 3rd Avenue Transit, and Y&M Transit are repeatedly leaving their buses’ engines running for longer than the law allows at schools, bus yards, and other locations predominantly in low-income neighborhoods of color throughout the city.
According to the lawsuit, from September 2019 through the present day, a total of 614 buses owned by the three companies -- whose CEOs include Joseph Fazzia, known professionally as "Jofaz" (the company name is a portmanteau of his last name and his son's nickname) -- have violated idling laws in Brooklyn and Queens, with more than 10 minutes of idling at schools, residential areas, parks, and their own bus yards. Idling disproportionately harms children, the AG says, because it leads to higher rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
The complaint alleges that Jofaz, 3rd Avenue, and Y&M have been violating the laws by failing to follow their own policies and training drivers not to leave their buses’ engines running. The companies have also failed to keep their own data on idling, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a deal that was reached Monday between the school bus drivers' union and two big school-bus companies to avert a strike that would have affected thousands of students. The companies agreed to continue providing healthcare at no cost to their employees and the bus-drivers' union will negotiate a contract with the city for future wage increases.