The Howard County (Maryland) Public School System (HCPSS) has awarded a five-year transportation contract operating 250 buses to Zum.
Cutting Carbon Emissions in Howard County
Beginning with the 2023-24 school year, the district will be provided with carbon-neutral pupil transportation for a portion of its fleet. Zum reports that it is the first and only 100% carbon-neutral student transportation company in the U.S. Transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
Additionally, Zum has committed to working with HCPSS, county and state officials, and key stakeholders to develop a plan to transition the entire school bus fleet to electric in the next five years. Through its Net Zero Initiative, the company is leading in electric school bus conversion in pupil transportation.
Rider Tracking in Howard County
Through the Zum app, HCPSS parents will be able to view the complete profile of their child's driver, along with real-time tracking and notifications about their school bus location and their child's pickup or dropoff status.
District administrators and operators will be able to track school buses on a live map from start to finish, and routes will be adjusted in real time to account for absent students or traffic issues.
Zum will also provide real-time data and performance reports to the HCPSS staff to enable transparency and data-driven, timely decisions when it comes to each student's transportation.
"Howard County Public Schools is consistently recognized as a school system that prioritizes a safe, nurturing and inclusive environment for all students, and we are thrilled the district is partnering with Zum for its student transportation services," said Zum Founder and CEO Ritu Narayan. "With this decision, Howard County joins a massive movement of schools that share our commitment to a future where student transportation advances equity, accessibility and environmental stewardship."
Establishing a Footprint in Howard County
Zum is building state-of-the-art facilities on an eight-acre campus in Howard County, bringing in brand new quality buses and equipment.
The company will hire 250+ school drivers and staff in Howard County, offering higher wages and medical/401K benefits, among other perks, to the drivers.
In addition, Zum supports its drivers and staff with advanced training and certification programs to ensure they not only meet and exceed all state and federal requirements but also are well-equipped and extensively trained in customer service and transporting students with diverse needs and disabilities.
"Our approach to student transportation is not just incremental but transformative, and that starts with people," said Liz Sanchez, Zum's executive vice president of school bus operations. "We take pride in hiring the best team and invest heavily in training them, equipping them and providing a culture that puts drivers first. We are committed to providing a great workplace and environment for our school bus drivers and staff so that we can best serve the students and families of HCPSS."
HCPSS joins the growing number of school districts that have partnered with Zum for school transportation, including Los Angeles Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District, Seattle Public Schools, Oakland Unified School District, and Metro Nashville Public Schools.