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First Student to Assume Seattle School Bus Routes
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First Student to Assume Seattle School Bus Routes

September 1, 2022

Previously Awarded to Competitor Zum

A longtime provider of student transportation steps in to fill the gap and stands ready to assist with other routes

SEATTLE – Today, First Student, a longtime provider of student transportation services to Seattle schools, announced it has agreed to assume 78 school bus routes originally awarded to its competitor Zum after the startup acknowledged it could not provide the district with sufficient drivers or buses to fulfill the terms of a recently awarded contract.

First Student has agreed to cover the routes through December 2023 and has shared with the district that it is ready to help assume other routes if Zum continues to have difficulties as it attempts to ramp up operations in Seattle.

On July 6, the Seattle Public Schools board voted to split the three-year contract to provide the district with transportation services between First Student and Zum, awarding Zum 184 routes and First Student 184. Now, First Student’s agreement to cover Zum’s routes brings its total to 262.  

First Student has won the competitive bid process for the past 30 years as Seattle Public Schools’ sole provider of student transportation services.  

“We take great pride in working to recruit and retain the best employees in the region and have been very successful in creating a robust and stable team of great drivers,” said Michael Hamel, First Student’s area general manager. “While we didn’t anticipate Zum to have difficulty meeting the demand of the recently awarded contract, we are pleased to be in a position to step in and make sure the district can live up to its commitment to provide safe and convenient transportation options for Seattle students.”

Hamel added that First Student’s driver recruitment continues to attract highly qualified drivers and can help further if needed. “We agreed to step in and assist the district in covering these 78 routes until January, but if the district needs us, we are able and ready to continue as long as they need us, wherever they need us,” Hamel noted.

Seattle Public Schools is scheduled to begin classes on September 7th.

First Student is the nation’s largest provider of student transportation services, providing 5 million student journeys a day, and a fleet of more than 44,000 buses. First Student is a leader in the move toward vehicle electrification as a pillar of commitment to sustainability.


About First Student

First Student is the leading school transportation solutions provider in North America, providing the best start and finish to every school day. With a team of highly trained drivers and the industry’s strongest safety record, First Student delivers reliable, quality services, including full-service transportation and management, special-needs transportation, route optimization, and scheduling, maintenance, and charter services with a fleet of about 40,000 buses. For more information, please visit