CINCINNATI — First Student, Inc., the nation’s leader in student transportation, has been selected to provide school transportation for the Nebraska Panhandle, which consists of the Gering and Scottsbluff Public school districts. This marks the first time the districts have partnered with a transportation provider to supply its busing services. The contract is a four-year agreement beginning with the 2012-2013 school year.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to serve the Panhandle Consortium,” said Phil O’Donnell, First Student area general manager. “First Student is dedicated to forming true partnerships with our school districts while providing students with the safest and most reliable transportation.”
First Student is in the process of adding additional safety features to the districts’ school buses, which will include cameras to monitor on-board activities, GPS tracking systems which allow the company to know the speed and location of each bus at any given time, the Child Check-Mate electronic reminder system designed to ensure no child is left unattended on a bus, and crossing gates to allow children to cross in front of the bus at a safe distance.
“We look forward to working with First Student,” said Don Hague, Gering superintendent. “This partnership will lower costs without compromising safety, allowing the district to focus solely on education rather than transportation.”
To support First Student’s relationship with the Nebraska Panhandle, the company has hired Harold Stewart as its location manager. Stewart is retired from the Air Force and has more than 15 years of experience in the communications industry.
“Student safety is our number one priority,” said Rick Myles, Scottsbluff superintendent. “We are confident First Student will deliver the high-quality transportation services we expect, while continuously looking at ways to make the experience even better for our students who ride the bus.”
Each new First Student driver undergoes an extensive training program before transporting any students. This training consists of classroom, behind-the-wheel and safety orientation training. In addition to state and school district-mandated training, First Student also conducts in-service meetings throughout the year to discuss various safety topics as well as review company policies and procedures. Drivers also must follow all state regulations and school district guidelines governing the operation of a school bus.
To ensure the buses are operating in top condition, First Student performs regularly scheduled and ongoing vehicle maintenance checks. Each bus follows a stringent daily, monthly and annual vehicle maintenance program. Each driver also conducts a multi-point inspection prior to beginning his or her route.
Prospective drivers interested in joining the First Student team should call (308) 635-6214 or visit 2509 Broadway in Scottsbluff to complete an application. Potential employees must pass a background check, as well as a drug screen prior to hire.