Paratransit Provider MV Transportation Secures Second School Bus Contract

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Paratransit services provider MV Transportation has secured a second school bus contract with the Anchorage (Alaska) School District after re-entering the student transportation market in September. The company began its services on Dec. 5 by operating two-thirds of the school district’s bus routes.

MV Transportation, the largest privately owned transportation contracting firm in the United States, assumed a five-year extension contract awarded in March to Gainsville, Texas–based Forsythe Transportation after that company sold all its assets. Forsythe acquired that contract from First Student in the fall of 2007 after First Student merged with Laidlaw. MV’s contract runs through June 2016.

Before its contract with ASD, MV Transportation already had a presence in the city of Anchorage, where it provides paratransit services.

The ASD school bus contract is MV Transportation’s second after its subsidiary Reliant Transportation Inc. — previously known as USA United Fleet Inc. —  in August was awarded a contract with the New York Department of Education to operate 600 school buses and cover more than 500 routes at the start of this school year. MV acquired USA United Fleet shortly after it filed for bankruptcy on July 6.

Under the contract with ASD, MV Transportation operates 158 school buses, and the school district operates its 81 remaining buses. MV was able to hire all of Forsythe’s employees, processing approximately 280 in three days. Steven Kalmes, ASD’s director of transportation and vehicle maintenance and a past NAPT president, said the transition was a smooth one.

“There haven’t been any issues,” Kalmes said. “MV Transportation did a remarkable job of processing all the employees, so it has gone very well.” He added that the only noticeable difference as a result of the contract change is the name on the side of the bus.

The New York City contract is considered MV’s re-entry into the school bus market. From 2001 to 2008, the company had a pupil transportation operating unit, MV Student Transportation Inc., and in that time it gained 12 new school bus contracts in the United States. The operating unit was sold, but the company had hopes to re-establish this industry base.

That interest is now back on MV Transportation’s radar, under the leadership of Carter Pete, a world-renowned restructuring expert who was named CEO in July.