WBR drops school bus company after 10 years
WEST BATON ROUGE - A number of parents and school leaders have been complaining for a number of years about First Student, the school bus service West Baton Rouge Parish has used for close to a decade, but now the school system says they are moving to a new company.
Instead, the system will use STS (Student Transportation Specialist), a company based out of Texas, to handle the needs of the parish's schools.
Part of the contract will have a fleet of new buses equipped with air conditioning and 4-way cameras. Not only will the rides be nicer, but school officials said the new company will also save them close to $300,000 a year.
"They seem to be a little bit more customer service friendly for us and their bid was less expensive," said West Baton Rouge School Superintendent, Wes Watts.
He said with the new company comes a local maintenance facility to help maintain the buses, which is something the WBR Parish schools have needed for years.
"Our buses are shipped somewhere else to be serviced," said Watts.
School officials say they don't plan to lay off any of their current drivers, but they will work with the new company on hiring bus drivers. Many parents would prefer that the drivers are selected from the communities that house the schools.
"I can't say how many we'll keep," said Watts. "We'll keep a lot of our drivers that have a done a good job with us, and we don't want to hurt them and STS has done a good job and have made a committment to the drivers that we have that they're going to retain them."
First Student said changes to contracts are typically around this time of the year. They said their drivers will also have the opportunity to relocate to other schools as the service acquires a different contract with new schools.
The contract with First Student is set to expire on June 30.