Campus Transportation

Los Angeles District Awards $400M Student Transportation Contract

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) recently announced that it has awarded a $400-million transportation contract with student transportation company Zum. A press release notes that the school district’s goal is to provide a cleaner, greener and more equitable solution for students and families. LAUSD serves more than 650,000 students across more than 1,000 campuses.

Zum will collaborate with the school district in replacing its legacy school bus fleet with electric vehicles. Zum currently stands as the only 100% carbon neutral student transportation company in the U.S., and it has already offset the entirety of its fleet’s carbon emissions through its Net Zero Initiative.

Zum also offers additional safety and reliability features to families. The Zum app allows parents to see a profile of their child’s bus driver, as well as real-time updates on the vehicle’s location and estimated times for pickup or dropoff. District administrators can also track a bus’s route from start to finish and adjust routes in real time based on traffic conditions—or even absent students. Drivers can also preview the students on their assigned routes and receive important, supplemental information on a student-by-student basis if necessary.

Finally, modernizing transportation district-wide will provide a more equitable experience for students. According to the news release, students who wait longer for buses on average report lower grades and fewer social activities. Low-income families who are more likely to depend on student transportation are thus disproportionately affected by these wait times.

“Zum is at the forefront of a massive transformation in student transportation, helping thousands of schools move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to a modern experience that provides parents, students, drivers and districts with safer, greener, more reliable transportation services,” said Zum founder and CEO Ritu Narayan. “With this decision, LAUSD demonstrates its commitment to a future where student transportation is no longer a barrier to access to education, but rather advances equity, accessibility and environmental stewardship for the Los Angeles community.”

The news release notes that Zum will hire more than 400 Los-Angeles-based drivers before the beginning of the 2022–23 school year.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].