Wisconsin's second largest school district seeks to transform the bus-riding experience for its students and families through a new partnership with First Student.
On July 20, the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) selected the company through a bid process to provide transportation services beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.
Over the course of the three-year contract, new school buses and First Student's technology suite will modernize MMSD's transportation service.
Onboard technology provides drivers with the most efficient route, ensuring the safe arrival of students. GPS/location tracking of buses in real-time allows families and school-based administrators to show when a bus arrives at school or home.
"We want to provide our students and families with the best possible experience on the school bus.” MMSD Interim Superintendent Lisa Kvistad noted in a recent news release.” First Student is known for delivering comprehensive, forward-thinking transportation services, and we are confident they will deliver positive solutions for our district.”
"We look forward to introducing innovative tools to help the Madison Metropolitan School District and their families better manage the school day," First Student Area General Manager Ladel Cass said. "First Student continually seeks a better way to do things, especially when it comes to implementing new industry-leading technologies that help ensure an exceptional experience on the bus.”
Current drivers who have serviced MMSD schools are encouraged to join the First Student team.
The company is raising wages and offering sign-on bonuses to those who meet its industry-leading hiring requirements.
"The school day begins when students get on the bus and develop those important relationships with the dedicated and caring bus drivers who transport our kids," Kvistad said. "First Student recognizes the tremendous impact drivers bring to their roles and to our community. We hope the drivers who have supported our schools, students and families will continue to do so by working with our new transportation provider."
Drivers will also receive enhanced training to ensure students who require additional support receive appropriate and unique care.
First Student will introduce its FirstServes program, empowering drivers and monitors with clinically proven tools and communications guidelines. This approach in special needs transportation helps students arrive feeling safe and ready to learn.
First Student has 10 Wisconsin locations that serve more than 20 school districts andud thousands of families.