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February 17, 2011  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Operation Focuses on Efficient, Personal Service

The staff at Educational Service District 112’s Specialized Transportation Cooperative in Vancouver, Wash., monitors its growth to cost-effectively meet the needs of its member schools and school districts. Students are provided with customized transportation to maximize their safety.

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Currently, the cooperative replaces its small buses every 10 to 12 years. Bonin plans to move to an eight-year lifecycle replacement schedule.
<p>Currently, the cooperative replaces its small buses every 10 to 12 years. Bonin plans to move to an eight-year lifecycle replacement schedule.</p>

Cost-effective transportation
In addition to its safety record, Bonin says flexibility is the cooperative's biggest strength. "We can pretty much do whatever the schools want, and we give the school districts a real value for the dollar," he says. "It saves the districts money to contract with us because we're transporting students long distances. Some of our routes are 200 miles a day."

Turnover at the operation is low - several of the drivers have worked there for more than 20 years. Bonin attributes this to the type of service they are providing.

"Our drivers feel good about what they're doing and enjoy seeing the difference they make in those children's lives," he says.

Communication has been integral to facilitating this.

"We require the drivers to talk to each student's parents or caregiver on the phone or in person so that before they ever transport those students, they understand their needs," Bonin says.

Fleet Facts
School buses: 50 (all small)
Average students transported monthly: 300
Districts served: 23
Schools served: 161
Transportation staff: 62
Area of service: 6 counties in Washington state; Portland, Ore.

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