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Atlantic Express Files for Bankruptcy on Union Disputes

Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Atlantic Express Transportation Corp., a school bus fleet operator, filed for bankruptcy in New York saying the operation is unsustainable because of union labor costs and operating expenses.

The company, based in Staten Island, New York, listed assets of as much as $500 million and the same amount in liabilities in its Chapter 11 filing yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Atlantic Express’s 39 affiliates also filed for bankruptcy.

“Our current business model in our largest market, New York City, is not sustainable as union labor costs and operating expenses have severely hindered our ability to remain competitive,” David Carpenter, chief executive officer, said in a statement distributed by Business Wire.

Atlantic Express will continue operating as it seeks additional debt or equity financing during the bankruptcy, the company said in the statement. The company will also put some assets up for sale and continue labor negotiations on a new collective agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union, it said.

Atlantic Express said it’s the fourth biggest school bus company, employing more than 5,800 people who transport children in more than 100 school districts.

The case is In re: Atlantic Express Transportation Corp. 13-bk-13598. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Schneider in Sydney at jschneider5@bloomberg.net

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