The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has awarded a transportation contract valued at over $400 million to Zūm, the leader in modern student transportation. The decision, approved by the LAUSD board of directors, signals the district’s commitment to replacing an archaic, legacy transportation system with a cleaner, safer and more equitable solution for the students and families of Los Angeles county.
LAUSD is the second largest school district in the country, serving more than 650,000 students across more than 1,000 school campuses. By choosing to modernize their transportation services, the district will be able to deliver superior service built around the needs of students, families and the teachers, administrators and drivers intent on creating the best educational experience for children.
Cleaner and Greener: Los Angeles County, known for some of the nation’s worst traffic congestion, cites transportation as the largest contributor to its greenhouse gas emissions. As the first and only 100% carbon neutral student transportation company in the U.S., Zum is committed to working with LAUSD to transition the bus fleet to electric vehicles. In fact, through its Net Zero Initiative, the company has already offset 100% of its fleet’s carbon emissions.
- Safer and more reliable: Zum’s technology is built to keep students safe from the moment they get on the bus until they are back home again. Through the Zum app, parents are able to view the complete profile of their child’s driver, along with real-time information about vehicle location and their child’s pickup or drop-off time and status. District administrators and operators are able to track rides in a map view from start to finish, and routes are adjusted in real time to account for absent students or traffic issues. At the same time, drivers are able to preview all students on assigned routes, along with important, supplemental information for each student where necessary.
Through Zum’s proprietary safety technology, driver training, and certification program, SafeGuard, all drivers not only meet and exceed all state and federal requirements but also are trained on and required to adhere to specific protocols while picking up or dropping off students and while driving. The Zum platform also ensures timely, secure and centralized reporting to keep everyone appropriately informed.
- More equitable: Modernizing transportation across the district can address inequalities the current system exacerbates. Students with longer average times on buses report lower grades, fewer social activities and poorer study habits. Because low-income families, children of color and children with special needs are more likely to depend on school buses, they’re disproportionately affected. By selecting Zum, districts are demonstrating their commitment to modernizing student transportation to ensure equity and access for all students.
“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 Ritu Narayan, founder and CEO at Zum. “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.”
Ahead of the start of the 2022-2023 school year in August, Zum will hire more than 400 drivers in the Los Angeles area, offering competitive pay, great flexibility, and strong training programs, resulting in excellent job satisfaction overall. Zum’s culture, driver satisfaction and benefits have already helped their partner districts overcome obstacles in the face of a nationwide driver shortage, ensuring that students, families and school districts can rely on the school bus arriving every day.
LAUSD Leads Growing National Movement
The U.S. school bus fleet is twice the size of all other mass transit combined, including buses, trains and airlines. Transportation is typically a districts’ second-highest line item, after salaries, and districts across the U.S. are beginning to realize that the current antiquated model of student transportation no longer serves the needs of today’s students, parents and communities.
LAUSD joins the growing number of innovative school districts, including San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle, that have partnered with Zum to modernize student transportation and break away from the status quo. These districts and their families are already starting to see the benefits. San Francisco Unified School District is on track to save $15 million over the next five years and in Oakland, the number of students spending more than one hour on a bus has dropped from 70 percent to less than 10 percent.