At First Student, we proudly spend each day investing our more than 100 years of transportation expertise in safely transporting students to and from over 1,000 school districts across the United States and Canada. This amounts to more than five million student journeys per day, transporting more passengers than all the U.S. airlines combined. With those kinds of numbers, you can be sure that we don’t just make safety a priority, we make it a lifestyle.

For us, this means making safety a core value in every part of our business, from the technology and vehicles we use to the people we employ. Having either developed or pioneered many of the features that are now school bus standards, we never stop pursuing the most innovative advancements in safety and efficiency. Our school bus drivers and monitors are the most devoted, highly-trained team of professionals you’ll find in the industry. We hire them right from the communities we serve, because they share our dedication to providing the highest levels of service. But we don’t stop there. Take a look at some of the other strategies that set us apart from our industry competitors.

  • Cultivate Safety Discussions: One way we keep safety as everyone’s top priority is by taking opportunities to cultivate communication between drivers, administrators, educators, and parents about safety issues. This means discussing and implementing necessary changes, fostering regular coaching sessions, and making sure that positive feedback is given in order to encourage and continue a culture of safety. This also means creating committees where transportation personnel – including drivers and monitors – partner with administrators and educators to collaborate on district transportation initiatives. 
  • Evaluate Effectiveness vs. Efficiency: These two words are often used interchangeably, but their definitions are actually quite different. Effectiveness means to adequately accomplish a task. Efficiency means performing in the best possible manner with the least time wasted. We consistently examine levels of effectiveness vs. efficiency when it comes to the transportation operation in each district we work with. This includes everything from monitoring equipment to evaluating the behavior and wellness of our drivers, and from analyzing driving routes and bus stop location safety to following a strict set of best practices guidelines for maintenance technicians. It’s all in the interest of achieving the highest levels of safety.
  • Take a Step Back to Reevaluate: Proper evaluation of a safety program hinges on the collection of data and opinions, which can then be used to influence policy implementation. Cross-functional committees are invaluable in this area, because there may be issues a driver would notice that an educator might not, and vice versa. We take into account as many perspectives as possible to strengthen the safety of district transportation programs. This type of constant reevaluation helps to identify which parts of transportation programs are working and which areas need adjustment, correction, and further growth.
  • Emergency Response Training: Every school district has unique characteristics, especially when it comes to climate and geography. We develop targeted training for emergencies – such as environmental hazards, school violence and police lockdowns, and climate emergencies like flash floods or tornadoes, among various other scenarios – which is imperative to keeping students safe. These well-thought-out action plans and expectations are communicated to administrators, educators, parents, and other community members.

Award-winning partners in safety

This level of dedication to safety standards and practices has earned us the position of being 1.8 times as safe as the industry average, far exceeding our competitors. We are also the only school transportation company to have received the prestigious National Safety Council (NSC) Green Cross for Safety´âĺ medal, the highest award for safety in North America.

When you contract with First Student, you’ll not only receive a transformed transportation model for your school district, but you’ll also get the close, personal relationship we’re known for fostering in our partnerships, with service and attention specifically tailored to the needs of your students, families, and communities. When we say “partnership” we mean just that.

We focus on helping school districts achieve their long-term goals by maintaining relationships built on mutual trust and understanding. As your transportation partner, we know the amount of pressure put on school districts to balance competitive and economic factors in order to provide the best education experience possible. We’re here to relieve some of that pressure by helping you transform the efficiency of your daily transportation needs so you can dedicate more time, energy, and resources to the classroom.

On average, contracting student transportation saves school districts up to 10 to 30 percent on overall costs, allowing them to focus on additional improvements in other crucial areas. As the leading name in the school transportation industry, we want to work with you and your school district to transform your student transportation today.

First Student: Caring for students today, tomorrow, together. To learn more, visit today.

Around NSBA

Six students conduct a science experiment with potatoes and electrodes.

2024 Magna Awards: Silver Award Winners

The 2024 Magna Awards program recognizes 15 exemplary district programs in three enrollment categories as Silver Award winners.