BPS proposes new transportation vendor for next school year
BOSTON – Boston Public Schools is recommending a five year contract with five one-year extension options held by BPS and the City of Boston be awarded to Illinois-based Veolia Transportation Inc., to manage the daily operation and maintenance of the city’s school bus fleet beginning in July. The recommendation is subject to Boston School Committee approval.
BPS has demanded several service improvements under the new bus contract, including:
- Performance benchmarks that call for greater than 95 percent on-time performance -- even more stringent than the highly-praised on-time performance of our service this year
- Doubling safety training for school bus drivers and more safety supervisors on the road
- Fuel savings and reductions in overall fleet emissions through environmental technology and an anti-idling plan
- Regular ‘customer service’ surveys of parents and schools, including ongoing community meetings to listen to feedback and respond to requests
“The awarding of this contract signifies we have found a provider to deliver a new high standard of service to our students and their families,” said Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. “Offering our students a safe, dependable, and efficient way to get to and from school is one of our most basic obligations. Our agreement with Veolia will help us look at new ways to deliver this service better than ever before.”
Originally, the District had prepared for an increase in total transportation costs of $17 million next year based on market estimates. The Veolia bid came in approximately $6 million under this estimate, which will allow BPS to invest these resources in classrooms rather than transportation. This is reflected in our proposed FY14 budget.
The contract, which will be presented to the Boston School Committee for a decision, would replace the current management contract with First Student, which expires on June 30.
Under the proposal BPS would continue to own the district’s more than 700 school buses. All current school bus drivers, who are now employed by First Student, would become employees of Veolia. Terms of the collective bargaining agreement between First Student and the bus drivers’ union, including salary and benefit packages, would remain in effect and be assumed by Veolia.
BPS recommends the contract be awarded to Veolia following an innovative, rigorous bidding process that began with a request for proposals (RFP) encouraging service providers to outline a commitment to the highest standards for transporting BPS, charter, private and parochial school students.
CEO of Veolia Transportation Mark Joseph said “We are very pleased to be able to bring our skills and experience to the Boston Public Schools and the City of Boston. We respect BPS’ commitment to safety, efficiency, and the highest quality service and we are dedicated to achieving its high standards.”
Veolia offers bus services in some 130 contracts in the US and Canada, including school transportation services for several school districts in Canada. Its parent company, Veolia Transdev, operates contracts for public transportation for 5,000 city transit authorities in 27 countries.
Facts about BPS school bus transportation:
- BPS transports about 33,200 students to and from 228 schools on 732 school buses every day. State law requires BPS to transport BPS, charter, private and parochial students.
- Our bus fleet travels approximately 26,000 miles per day, of which 64 percent are to and from BPS schools – the remaining 36 percent are for charter, private and parochial schools.
- For Fiscal Year 2013, BPS budgeted $88 million for transportation, or approximately one tenth of the entire annual budget.