The nation's third largest school bus contractor announced it recently completed negotiations for three school district conversions to contracted transportation service in Idaho, Pennsylvania and Vermont. The new long-term contracts will add more than 290 vehicles to STI's fleet and up revenue by $11 million for the current fiscal year, according to the company.
Conversions are a shift from publicly owned and operated fleets to a contracted model. STI expanded its presence in Pennsylvania and Vermont while the Idaho win represents the company's first presence in that state.
"These conversions are true public-private partnerships. We will be operating from the district's facility, hiring the employees into our local family of companies and increasing the quality, efficiency and communication throughout these transportation systems by providing new technology and training," commented STI Founder and Chairman Denis Gallagher.
The company stated that West Ada School District, located just outside Boise in Meridian, Idaho, is the largest and fastest-growing school district in the state. Recent expansion by technology companies and other businesses in the area have helped spur growth in the region. STI service will begin with the 2014-2015 school year and, over time, the contractor said it will help the school upgrade its fleet of vehicles as well.
"West Ada provides a tremendous opportunity to showcase how we work together with our school districts to improve their transportation operations and bring in the necessary new capital for new vehicles," added Gallagher. "School district–owned fleets across the country continue to get older, and the cost to run them is increasingly expensive. The plan here is to use their fleet initially and then begin a transition to our newer fleet over the term of the contract."
Gallagher also said he would like to see more school boards and states leverage a public-private partnership that can utilize school-owned facilities combined with contractor expertise and access to capital markets.