RIDE confirms DATTCO’s consideration for a bus contract

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) officials confirmed Tuesday they are considering DATTCO Motorcoach for the next bus contact in the Ocean State.

DATTCO would take over management of all school bus services statewide from First Student.

A spokesperson for RIDE said the proposal would save taxpayers in cities and towns that use school transportation services statewide nearly $8 million over five years.

Members of the First Student bus drivers union recently expressed concerns about the proposal.

“We have worked hard with First Student through union negotiations to ensure decent wage standards and benefits in the industry,” said Lorene Hamel, a bus driver for First Student.

RIDE officials shared the following statement about the proposal process:

“Under state law, RIDE followed an open and competitive procurement process for transportation services for out-of-district special education and non-public school students. A technical evaluation team of five state employees, including union members, recommended the selection of DATTCO for services within a zone, taking into account qualifications and best value, in accordance with the scoring rubric described in the RFP issued for these services.

The First Student union stated that DATTCO wages and benefits are significantly lower than those of the majority of current union contacts.

The RIDE spokesperson added that the request for proposal process (RFP) explicitly requested from suppliers confirmed that they would meet all local, state and federal prevailing wage requirements.