First Student has launched FirstConsulting, a service that allows school districts to tap into the expertise of the Cincinnati-based school transportation provider. The company can evaluate daily transportation operations, bus routing, electrification, fleet maintenance, management, and safety to enhance a district's transportation service.
“At First Student, we understand what it takes to successfully and safely manage and operate student transportation for school districts,” said First Student CEO and President John Kenning. “We transport more students, maintain more buses and plan more routes than any other transportation provider. We are excited to share that vast knowledge with even more school districts, delivering customized assessments for complete transportation success, allowing districts, and their students, to thrive now and in the future.”
Every FirstConsulting service offering begins with an in-depth assessment by an internal team of First Student experts. They can identify opportunities for continuous improvement, providing valuable insights on how districts can better serve the evolving needs of students and families.
“Student transportation is not one size fits all,” said FirstConsulting Vice President Leslie Norgren. “We recognize school districts have unique needs. By leveraging our expertise, scale and technology, we can help districts solve day-to-day operational challenges, offering proven solutions, ensuring students receive the best possible ride to and from school every day.”
School districts that want to improve transportation services can benefit from FirstConsulting’s daily operations assessment. All aspects of day-to-day operations are analyzed, including dispatching, staffing, daily management, safety, communication and key performance indicators (KPIs). FirstConsulting can identify opportunities to improve overall effectiveness.
Understanding the importance of safe and timely bus routes, FirstConsulting also offers a routing efficiency and effectiveness analysis as a stand-alone option for districts. It includes examining routes, school schedules and bus utilization. First Student manages the routing of more than 30,000 vehicles each year, working with all major routing platforms. The evaluation can help districts improve on-time performance and reduce costs.
As more school districts look to modernize their fleets with electric school buses, while improving the health and well-being of students, FirstConsulting can simplify the process. First Student’s EV experts can assist districts with grant applications, infrastructure design, hardware and software selection, charger and bus selections, site assessments, utility outreach and construction, and deployment.
FirstConsulting can also develop solutions to assist districts with fleet management and maintenance, ensuring students are riding safe and reliable buses to and from school. Assessments in these areas include evaluating the district’s entire fleet, usage and associated costs to provide recommendations for fleet optimization and improved reliability. First Student has a network of ASE-certified technicians, lean shop facilities and an unmatched preventative maintenance program for districts to leverage.
Recognizing the most important safety feature on the bus is a well-trained driver, districts can partner with FirstConsulting for enhanced driver training. First Student invests heavily in driver development to lead the industry in safety and is now offering its researched-based special needs program, FirstServes, to all school districts. The company is the largest provider of special education transportation services in North America, understanding transporting students with physical and emotional disabilities requires experience, specialized training and compassion.