Student Transportation Inc. will operate and maintain Navasota ISD’s new 40-vehicle fleet, which will be leased and owned by the district. Pictured is the district’s administration building. Photo by Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0

Student Transportation Inc. will operate and maintain Navasota ISD’s new 40-vehicle fleet, which will be leased and owned by the district. Pictured is the district’s administration building. Photo by Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0

NAVASOTA, Texas — Navasota Independent School District (ISD) recently awarded a new managed transportation contract to a Texas subsidiary of Student Transportation Inc.

The five-year, $1.3 million annual contract, which includes district-paid fuel, begins July 1.

Navasota ISD secured a new fleet of vehicles through a municipal lease that Student Transportation Inc. suggested, with a low rate locked in for 10 years.

Under the new contract, the 40 vehicles will be leased and owned by the district but operated and maintained by the contractor’s local drivers and staff.

“The partnership we proposed will provide [the district] with brand new state-of-the-art vehicles and a new management team with a customer service culture,” said Kirk Wilkie, senior vice president of Student Transportation Inc.'s central region.

Navasota ISD’s new vehicles will be equipped with GPS vehicle tracking technology and onboard camera systems. The fleet will also allow parents to utilize the SafeStop school bus tracking app.

Navasota is located between Houston and College Station, not far from Student Transportation Inc.'s operations in Fort Bend.

The state of Texas has over 1,200 school districts, and less than 5% are contracting out transportation services, according to Student Transportation Inc.

"We view Texas as a tremendous growth opportunity for us in either the contracted model or as a hybrid such as we've done [in Navasota]," Wilkie said. "School district-owned fleets here have gotten older due to funding constraints, and school officials have to recognize the public-private partnership we are proposing and have demonstrated is a great way for a state like Texas to improve operations and become more efficient.”

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