Ross says the American flag is on both sides of the School District of Manatee County’s buses to show support for the district and individuals who are serving the country.
Ross says that the School District of Manatee County’s transportation department has a good working relationship with Thomas Built Buses and Thomas’ dealer in Orlando, Fla. — Matthews Buses Inc. — which has benefitted the district.
When the district was considering which buses to purchase two years ago, staff members traveled to the Thomas plant where the C2s are built and spoke with the engineers and met the staff.
“We also talked to some of the customers who had purchased the buses in prior years, and everyone was very positive,” Ross says. “That played a large part in our decision making, along with the potential of saving fuel.”
As part of the agreement in purchasing the 48 Saf-T-Liner C2s, there’s a technician from the dealership who’s certified to work on Thomas Built units, and who is stationed at the school district’s shop.
“Our Matthews tech handles 100% of the warranty items on all 48 buses, completes all warranty paperwork and obtains parts,” Ross says. “This partnership has had a positive impact on our parts inventory, parts management and the timing of repairs. In the past, Manatee would have had several techs trained, and would handle warranty items and parts procurement, inventory increases and added training. Now, our techs are in training for the future at no expense to the district. With reduced budgets, along with a 25% reduction in staff, we are very satisfied with both Thomas Built and Matthews Buses for providing in-house support.”