First Student Recognizes February 2011 as Love the Bus Month

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In recognition of February as the American School Bus Council’s (ASBC) annual Love the Bus month, First Student Inc., the nation’s largest provider of student transportation, thanks school bus drivers and support staff for their dedication to providing safe transportation of students to and from school each day. School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation on the road today.

At First Student, all drivers receive more than 50 hours of training before ever driving a bus for the company. This includes behind-the-wheel, classroom and safety orientation training.

“Our drivers work hard each and every day to ensure the safety of the students we transport,” said Linda Burtwistle, president of First Student.

February 2011 marks the American School Bus Council’s (ASBC) annual Love the Bus month. First Student Inc., the nation’s largest provider of student transportation, joins with the ASBC to recognize school bus drivers across the United States for their dedication to the safe transportation of students to and from school each day. More than 26 million students ride school buses daily, and the advanced safety features of today’s school buses – as well as each driver’s commitment to keeping students safe - make it easy to love the bus.

“Our drivers work hard each and every day to ensure the safety of the students we transport,” said Linda Burtwistle, president of First Student. ”We are pleased to support Love the Bus month and to recognize our drivers as well as our dispatchers, maintenance teams and office staff, for their commitment to providing the safest, most reliable transportation to children across North America.”

School buses remain one of the safest forms of transportation on the road today. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are approximately 13 times safer than passenger cars and nearly 10 times safer than walking or biking to school. Even with the tremendous safety record of school buses, companies such as First Student continue to add features to help to make them even safer. These include onboard cameras, crossing gates to ensure children cross in front of the bus at a safe distance, GPS systems which provide the location and speed of buses at any given time, and Child Check-Mate, an electronic reminder designed to ensure students are not left unattended on a bus.

In addition to the design and safety features of school buses, proper maintenance and driver training are important reasons why school buses are among the safest forms of transportation. Each First Student school bus follows a strict daily, monthly and annual vehicle maintenance program. Additionally, each driver uses the latest technology to conduct a multi-point inspection prior to each route to ensure their bus is operating in top condition.

At First Student, all drivers receive more than 50 hours of training before ever driving a bus for the company. This includes behind-the-wheel, classroom and safety orientation training on such topics as bus safety and student behavioral management. In addition, First Student drivers participate in monthly in-service meetings throughout the year to discuss a variety of safety items.

“An on-going education program, in addition to state and district-mandated training, is crucial to having the most knowledgeable, highly trained drivers,” said Burtwistle.

About First Student
First Student, Inc., a part of Cincinnati-based FirstGroup America, is the leader in safe, reliable, sustainable transportation and is the largest provider of student transportation services in North America. FirstGroup America was recently awarded the National Safety Council’s 2009 Green Cross for Safety Medal in recognition of its commitment to safety and outstanding safety record. First Student safely transports approximately six million students with a fleet of approximately 60,000 yellow school buses in North America. For more information, please visit http://www.firststudentinc.com or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FirstGrpAmerica.

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Maureen Richmond

Bonnie Bastian

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