Category Archives: School.Bus

Crowded BOCES buses spark student protest

Source: By Simon Shifrin, Times Herald-Record (NY)m October 12, 2007

They’re tired of riding three to a seat. Some sit in the aisle with seat belts wrapped across their bodies because they don’t fit on the packed seats. So yesterday, some of these Pine Bush High School students took a stand.

“C’mon. C’mon. C’mon,” one girl yelled. “C’mon let’s go. Let’s get off the bus!”

A group of students who attend afternoon classes at Orange-Ulster BOCES filed off their two, typically packed buses in protest.

……. That’s why, Stark said, administrators put in a request back on Sept. 12 with the district’s bus company, First Student Inc., for an additional vehicle at noon. But she said the bus company had been unable to hire an additional driver.

Name is all that's changed for school buses

Source: By George Diepenbrock, Journal News, October 2, 2007

Lawrence’s yellow school buses will soon get a name change with the announcement of a multi-billion-dollar acquisition today by a Scottish bus and rail operating company.

Lawrence’s yellow school buses will soon get a name change with the announcement of a multi-billion-dollar acquisition today by a Scottish bus and rail operating company. Watch

Yellow school buses in Lawrence and across the nation will soon have a new name on the side, but company and school district leaders expect no major changes.

First Group PLC of the United Kingdom on Monday announced completion of its $3.4 billion acquisition of Laidlaw International Inc., which includes Laidlaw Education Services and Greyhound Lines. The Lawrence school district has a contract for transportation services through 2011 with Laidlaw, which is now called First Student.

Illinois limits school contracts

Source: School Bus Fleet (IL), August 23, 2007

On Aug. 17, Gov. Rod Blagojevich approved a bill to apply new rules for school boards that outsource support services. Under the new law, districts are not allowed to enter into a contract during collective bargaining, and contracts are limited to two years. In addition, both the district and the contractor must make cost projections for each expense category, which cannot be increased during the contract. The school board must provide a cost comparison, and a minimum of two public hearings to discuss the proposal must be held.

…… The bill was supported by teacher unions and public employee unions. School bus contractors were among its opponents.

A plan for reliable school buses gets rolling in Dysart

Source: Sherry Anne Rubiano, The Arizona Republic, May. 25, 2007 08:28 AM

…….. The Dysart Unified School District will begin running its own buses June 11, the first day for summer school activities, and will begin its full-scale operations when school starts in the fall. That means district-employed bus drivers and district-owned buses will be in charge of student transportation, rather than an outside provider.

Durham School Services had operated the school’s transportation system for years. But problems with buses not running on schedule and incorrect pick-up and drop-off points prompted the change.

State eyes expanded oversight of school bus drivers

Source: Lisa Cornwell, The Associated Press (OH), Sunday, January 28, 2007

CINCINNATI — The state attorney general’s office is trying to find ways to improve enforcement and oversight of criminal background checks on school bus drivers after a private bus company discovered that it had not done complete checks on all drivers.

…….. First Student Inc., based in Cincinnati, suspended service for the day Thursday to the Columbus Public Schools while it scrambled to check if all drivers had required background checks. The district had to cancel classes for the day, and other districts that use the company around the state questioned if their drivers had the required checks.

FirstGroup expansion into Europe prompts alliance

Source: International Transport Workers’ Federation news release, 2 February 2007

Trade unions from European countries where passenger carrier FirstGroup is planning to expand have announced plans to send a fact finding mission to the USA to investigate the company’s service record and whether it is living up to its pledge to remain neutral during union membership drives.

……. The British and American delegates passed on examples of FirstGroup’s poor service quality after being awarded local government and school contracts for bus service. Delegates learned that just in the past week schools in Ohio were shut down for a day because FirstGroup’s school bus subsidiary failed to screen out drivers with criminal records.

Related article from the Cincinnati Enquirer, January 25, 2007: Schools close over bus driver checks

Transportation problems a bumpy ride for district

Source: Carmen Paige, Pensacola News Journal (FL), August, 17, 2006

An unusually high number of complaints about school bus transportation has some Santa Rosa County School Board members disappointed and looking for answers. Board members have scheduled a workshop today with district officials to try to iron out bus problems, such as children being picked up or delivered home late. The problems have been attributed to a lack of drivers and route changes. “I’ve been disappointed because we have Laidlaw, and their job is to address drivers and routes,” said Diane Coleman, School Board chairwoman. “I want to be sure they are doing what we hired them to do.”

Privatizing bus service won't save cash, labor expert says

Source: BY LIZ COBBS, Ann Arbor News (MI), Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Privatizing bus service in the Lincoln Consolidated Schools will not result in economic savings for the district, a labor relations expert said Monday. Roland Zullo, a research scientist at the University of Michigan’s Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, told Lincoln school board members and a packed audience at Monday’s board meeting that he has studied privatization for 12 years, in such service areas as school busing, trash pickup and urban transit.

Districts weigh bus driver 'privatization'

Source: By Lynn Moore, Muskegon CHRONICLE (MI), Saturday, February 25, 2006

School bus drivers in six local districts could end up working for a private company next year under a plan to save money that the school districts are considering. The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District is seeking bids from private companies interested in employing 145 bus drivers in the six districts, beginning July 1. School officials think privatization of “employment management services” could save districts tens of thousands of dollars spent on retirement and health benefits for the drivers.

Guest columnist: Professionalism, not privatization, needed for school bus safety

Source: By Frank Flynn, Daily Advertiser (LA), Feb 22, 2006

When transporting our children to and from school, the Lafayette Democratic Party believes the first priority of the school board must be the safety of our children. For the safety of our children, we believe in professionalism, not privatization……… Across the country, privatization has resulted in greater risk to schoolchildren who are forced to ride in buses driven by unprofessional, low-paid drivers. The profits of privatization are taken from the community and sent to out-of-state companies. A study commissioned by the U.S. Secretary of Labor’s Task Force on Excellence in State and Local Government concluded that privatization does not necessarily result in lower costs and often the quality of service deteriorates when profit becomes the primary motivation. Contractors often provide inferior wages and benefits, which attract less qualified drivers. Paying inferior wages and benefits and hiring less qualified drivers increases the profit of the contractor, takes money out of the community, and places at risk the safety our children. Without adequate pay and benefits, private contractors experience a high turnover rate of drivers. This creates problems when new drivers are unfamiliar with school bus routes. Privatization also diminishes public accountability because the school board members cannot directly address parents’ and students’ complaints.