Student Transportation, Inc., the parent company of Student Transportation of America, announced it closed the aquisition of California school bus contract assets from Atlantic Express. The deal includes 425 vehicles and assumes more than $26 million in annualized contracted revenues, as well as 500 new companies.
School Wheels Direct, STI's logisitics and management arm, had operated the contracts at Long Beach and Los Angeles unified school districts since the beginning of the year. Atlantic Express announced it was closing its doors on Dec. 6 after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early November following a New York City school bus driver union rejecting a contract that Wells Fargo required to be signed in order to extend the company's credit. A New York bankruptcy court and creditors approved the appointment of School Wheels Direct one month ago to "provide continuity of service" to the school districts.
"We were able to hit the ground running just after the holidays to be ready when the students went back to school. The cooperation we received from various state and local officials to ensure thousands of children had safe transportation was just remarkable," added STI Regional Vice President Don Kissell. "We were able to prove ourselves to many folks who left on holiday and came back to a new provider and no service disruptions."
STI said STA management met with staff and drivers as well as school district customers to answer questions and strategize goals to accomplish. The school bus contractor added that it felt it was important to address any concerns involved with such a quick turnaround. But it also remained confident it could immediately improve operations and implement new programs right away.
"The entire process and customer response has gone so well that we were able to move up the closing of the transaction," added Kissell. "We have a tremendous reputation in the state and that certainly helped."
STA also extended its contract with LAUSD for an additional five years.