Zūm, a trusted provider of modern student transportation, has been awarded a contract with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to implement its student transportation service district-wide. The partnership, valued at $150 million over the next five years, will encompass transportation for 3,500 students across 150 school campuses starting in Fall 2021. In addition to providing a comprehensive platform to manage daily student transportation operations, Zūm will help SFUSD become one of the first school districts in the US to operate an entirely electric fleet by 2025.
Ritu Narayan, founder and CEO at Zūm, said, “We set out to transform student transportation, an industry that has remained unchanged for 80 years, and purpose-built our service around the needs of kids and the expectations of their families. We were inspired by the intentional goals SFUSD set to drive sustainability in an effort to make a positive impact in their community. We will begin deploying electric vehicles during the upcoming school year, and transition the entire district to electric by 2025, one of the first US school districts to make this commitment.”
SFUSD, among the top 10 largest school districts in California, is one of the first to adopt Zūm as a comprehensive transportation solution for students. With Zūm, SFUSD will be able to integrate its entire student transportation ecosystem on one, easy-to-use, real-time platform. Marking the first time SFUSD has updated its transportation solution in 40 years, Zūm’s platform will modernise the district’s transportation service, improving transparency, accountability, student safety, and efficiency for the district, drivers, children, and parents.
Orla O’Keefe, Chief of Policy and Operations at SFUSD, said, “A major challenge we experienced in the past was gaining visibility into the location of students and buses across the district. We hope and expect that our families will benefit from Zūm’s student-centered technology. Families will be able to track their child’s bus in real-time and to easily communicate with the driver regarding their child or any unique circumstances that may arise. It’s our hope that Zūm’s innovative approach to student transportation will provide a comprehensive solution that offers enhanced safety and care, driver efficiencies, and visibility into day-to-day operations.”
The Zūm and SFUSD partnership builds on a resolution the San Francisco District Board of Education adopted last fall to modernise its transportation, in an effort to better serve students, meet sustainability goals, and help districts increase efficiency and transparency across the system. The school district will use the Zūm dashboard as an end-to-end resource to manage daily operations, track and plan budget use, and analyse performance and service data.
Jader Castano, Chairperson, Local 1741 San Francisco, said, “To ensure we’re well equipped heading into the new school year, the drivers and staff of Local 1741 will be working with a new employer, Zūm. They have done an impressive job of acquiring a totally new fleet of school buses equipped with the latest technology and safety features, as well as a new and improved facility in San Francisco, while maintaining the pay and benefits that we need to survive in this environment. We, the drivers, mechanics, and staff are committed to working with Zūm to provide the safest and best service to students and families of the SFUSD.”
In addition to daily student transportation services, Zūm will also perform over 2,000 field trips for SFUSD students, reallocating its assets and deploying the best-sized vehicle, including buses, cars, and vans, to help reduce costs. With transportation being the second-largest budget item for districts after teacher’s salaries, Zūm’s technology focuses on optimising transportation routes, which will save SFUSD over $3 million a year, on average. This allows that budget to be better utilised elsewhere, such as in the classrooms.