CINCINNATI — First Student Inc. has been awarded a contract to provide student transportation services to Detroit Public Schools (DPS) under a five-year agreement that will begin on May 1.
First Student will operate a nearly 360-vehicle fleet and transport the district’s nearly 90,000 students to and from 172 schools. The company will also bring new technology to the district’s buses. At the start of the 2010-11 school year, all First Student buses serving DPS will be equipped with such safety features as a GPS tracking system, a child-check electronic reminder system and a crossing gate to allow children to cross in front of the bus at a safe distance.
“We are proud to provide student transportation to Detroit Public Schools,” said Linda Burtwistle, president of First Student. “Our focus on safety and customer service, coupled with solid fleet maintenance and driver training programs, enables us to provide the students of Detroit Public Schools with reliable transportation to school each and every day.”
Robert Bobb, emergency financial manager for DPS, told Detroit Free Press that privatizing all of the district’s bus services will save $50.5 million over five years. (About half of the district’s bus routes are currently privatized.)
After a bidding process, DPS reportedly selected Transportation Service Providers, a partnership between Detroit-based ABC Student Transportation and First Student. The partnership will receive about $115 million to run DPS’ transportation services.
The district also will sell its bus fleet.