First Student is expanding its operations in Canada with the acquisition of CG Pearson Bus Lines and the addition of new contracts, the company announced on Wednesday.
First Student is the largest school bus contractor in North America. In School Bus Fleet's Top 40 Contractors list for 2018, the Cincinnati-based company ranked No. 1 with a fleet of 44,000 buses.
CG Pearson Bus Lines provides school and charter transportation services out of two locations in Windsor and Tilbury, Ontario. The company was founded in 1947 and grew to nearly 60 routes and 70 buses.
CG Pearson’s primary customers were Windsor-Essex School Transportation Services and Chatham-Kent Lambton Administrative School Services, both of which are current customers of First Student. In all, the consortiums provide transportation for six school boards.
Ryan Pearson, vice president of CG Pearson Bus Lines, said that his family has provided service in the Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex regions for three generations.
“We would like to personally thank the wonderful customers and staff who have become like our family,” Ryan Pearson said. “We are excited to know that First Student will help our extended family into the next chapter and wish the best to everyone.”
First Student President Dennis Maple welcomed CG Pearson employees to the First Student team, and he said that the acquisition builds on the company’s “positive growth trajectory.”
“We’re experiencing tremendous growth in Ontario, where we’ll add more than 400 buses to our fleet for the 2018-2019 school year,” Maple said.
Beyond the 70 buses from the CG Pearson acquisition, First Student's growth in Ontario includes an expanded relationship with Student Transportation Services of York Region and five new, smaller contracts in the province, a company spokesperson explained.
First Student now has close to 40 locations in Ontario. The company expects to transport some 200,000 students daily in the province during the 2018-19 school year.
The purchase of CG Pearson is the second in as many years for First Student. Last year, the company acquired Falcon Transportation, a 94-bus operation in Chicago.