LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The approximately 600,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District will get free rides on buses and trains if their teachers in fact walk off the job beginning Thursday.

The L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) announced Tuesday that LAUSD students will be allowed to ride free on buses, light-rail and subway lines between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. on strike days.

LAUSD students must simply show bus operators and fare enforcement officers their student IDs to Metro board buses and trains.

“We have to do everything possible to ease the burden on parents and children affected by a strike,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “Free rides on Metro mean that families will have one less thing to worry about while both parties work toward an agreement.”

Last week, Garcetti said the city has been preparing contingency plans to assist families in the event of a strike. Recreation centers, parks and libraries will be open as “safe places” where parents can bring their children on strike days.

A union strike would be the first by LAUSD teachers since 1989.

At issue between the two sides has been pay, class size and the hiring of more support staff such as nurses, counselors and librarians. LAUSD has offered a 6 percent pay hike retroactive to July 1, 2016, while United Teachers Los Angeles is demanding a 6.5 percent salary increase.

Meanwhile, the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park and the La Brea Tar Pits Museum also announced Tuesday that LAUSD students will receive free admission between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on strike days.

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