PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — A school district here is running its own fleet of buses for the first time, Community Impact reports.
Pflugerville Independent School District (ISD) launched its new transportation department and district-owned fleet of 159 new school buses for the 2019-20 school year, according to the newspaper. The district had previously contracted its buses and transportation services with Durham School Services.
As previously reported, Pflugerville ISD approved in December the $14.8 million purchase for the new buses from Rush Bus Centers. The purchase marked the first major use of funds from the district’s $332 million bond that was approved during the 2018 general election. The new buses are equipped with air-conditioning, heating, security cameras, and seat belts, according to Community Impact.
Ed Ramos, the chief operating officer for Pflugerville ISD, told the newspaper that the shift in transportation will help the district retain control of its operations and save on costs in the long term. While the district’s budget has not yet been finalized, Ramos added that he expects the transportation department to cost approximately $9.7 million — covering startup expenses, such as recruiting, training, and administration. He also said that the district plans to add 10 to 20 buses “in the first few years,” and that each bus will last the district about 12 to 15 years. As for hiring new transportation staff, Ramos said that the district had to recruit a new team of bus drivers and pay them "competitive wages" to meet demand.