Twice this year the National School Transportation Association filed complaints with the Federal Transit Administration against a public transit agency alleged to be operating an exclusive school bus service that violated federal law, and twice it successfully made its case.
The FTA sided with the school bus contractors association against Yankton Transit in Yankton, S.D., and the Bay Area Transit Authority in Suttons Bay, Mich., and ordered both to cease and desist those illegal operations. Transit agencies that receive federal funds are prohibited from competing with private school bus companies under 49 U.S.C. Section 5323(f) and 49 CFR Part 605. In addition, transit agencies that receive FTA funds are not permitted to provide schedules designed to serve only school-age students that are not open to the general public. The only exception to this rule is when a private school bus operation cannot provide adequate comparable service.