The largest school bus contractor in North America just got bigger with the acquisition of Apple Bus Company.
First Student announced on Thursday that it signed a purchase agreement to acquire the Cleveland, Missouri-based school bus and charter transportation provider. Financial details were not disclosed.
Apple Bus services 80 school districts in eight states with a fleet of around 1,500 buses operating out of 33 locations.
“We have spent decades building our business with our customers at the core of every decision we make,” said Mike Oyster, Apple Bus president and founding partner, in a statement. “Apple Bus Company, like First Student, believes great transportation partnerships are built on a foundation of trust, understanding, commitment and high-quality service. We are confident our school districts partners, students and families will benefit from First Student’s best practices, processes and innovations.”
The deal is the latest move by EQT Infrastructure to grow its North American investments in the student transportation industry. Last summer, EQT acquired First Student and First Transit from the UK’s First Group Plc for $4.6 billion. EQT is committed to investing in fleet electrification, as well as renewable fuel sources to support passenger health and reduce environmental impact, School Transportation News previously reported.
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First Student, which has around 43,000 school buses in its fleet, has acquired at least six bus companies and added more than 1,100 school buses to its fleet since 2019.
“Apple Bus Company shares in our unwavering commitment to provide students with safe, reliable transportation,” commented First Student President Paul Osland. “At First Student, we see this as a logical step in our strategic commitment to grow our presence in North America. We are excited to have Apple Bus Company join our team. We look forward to introducing our industry-leading safety record, rigorous driver training programs and cutting-edge technologies to even more school districts, families and communities.”
Apple Bus acquisition is expected to be completed by this summer. Details are not being released on the sale price at this time.