Seattle Public Schools reduces bus service for the 2022-23 school year

Aug 23, 2022, 1:15 PM | Updated: 1:22 pm


(Photo by: Bernard Friel/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

(Photo by: Bernard Friel/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) does not have enough drivers to staff all of its school bus routes for the 2022-2023 school year.

That message was announced by the district Monday with the clarifying note that families affected by the shortage will receive a notification by Sept. 7.

“As shared with you this spring, the transportation challenges our district experienced in the 2021-22 school year remain. That means this fall, some SPS bus routes will not be in effect for the start of school,” SPS wrote in an announcement.

The district confirmed with MyNorthwest that route assignments are currently being determined and are not yet available.

The district contracts out its transportation services to two companies: First Student and Zum Services.

Earlier in the summer, Seattle Public Schools announced that it would walk back its decision to award the contract only to First Student – with whom the distinct has contracted for over 30 years – after the rival contractor, Zum, protested the award, claiming SPS had errored in evaluating its bid.

Rival to First Student exposes Seattle Schools’ fumbled bus-bidding war

First Student claims that it is fully staffed for the upcoming school year:

“First Student has more than enough drivers to cover all 178 routes awarded to us this year from the Seattle Public Schools. We have many reserve drivers and are staffed nicely for the coming school year. We also continue to hire new drivers as we’re committed to ensuring the best possible service for the SPS, its students, and its families,” Scott Gulbransen, a spokesperson for the company, wrote to MyNorthwest.

Zum Services could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Seattle Public Schools reduces bus service for the 2022-23 school year