Letter to MMSD Families from First Student Transportation
We recognize the start to this school year has been difficult, and we want to apologize for the inconvenience you may have experienced with our transportation service. We empathize with your concerns, share the same sentiment and are focused on solutions.
The biggest challenge we face is staffing. There is an ongoing nationwide shortage of school bus drivers, including in Madison. The move to a two-tier transportation system increased the number of bus routes by more than 30, creating a need for more drivers.
This is our first year providing transportation service for MMSD. In addition to the challenges presented by current staffing levels, our drivers have also been getting accustomed to new systems, routes and buses. Service has been affected as a result.
We recognize these disruptions can impact your family's schedules and cause stress. We want to assure you that we are actively working to mitigate these issues in partnership with the district and continue to make progress reducing the number of delayed routes.
About 90% of bus routes are running on time this week. We expect to build on our improved performance as more drivers join our team. Over the past two weeks, 10 new drivers have been added to routes, and we currently have 16 candidates in various stages of training with a strong pipeline of applicants.
Team members from other First Student locations remain in Madison to help move more candidates through the hiring process. It typically takes about four to ten weeks to become a qualified school bus driver. There are strict background checks, licensing requirements and training standards that must be met to safely operate a school bus.
In addition to staffing, we are also focused on routing. We are reviewing routes multiple times a day with the district. Corrections are in the process of being finalized this week to ensure buses are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible, potentially reducing the number of drivers needed to get all students to and from school.
All of us at First Student are committed to delivering the safe and reliable service your family deserves. Thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding during this time.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact us at 608-535-6350 or online at firstfeedback.com. We will respond as quickly as possible.
Region Vice President
Area General Manager