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Kansas City Public Schools parents weigh in on new transportation agreement

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Zum Student Transportation coming to KCPS
Posted at 6:37 AM, Apr 30, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo — Starting next school year, the Kansas City Public School District will enter a new transportation agreement with a California based company, Zum Student Transportation.

The district's $14.1 million agreement with Zum will start this summer and will be in effect for the next three years. KCPS is still in agreement with Student Transportation of America, but the company did issue a WARNnotice to the state of Missouri stating the change in operations will impact 149 employees and its current Kansas City location.

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Over the past few years, bus driver shortages have impacted KCPS families.

"I am cautiously optimistic, knowing that we've been experiencing a lot of hardship as far as busing for at least the last two to three years," said Manuel Clark, KCPS parent and member of the KCPS District Advisory.

In the past, Clark says bus driver shortages have caused his family additional money to get his son to Foreign Language Academy. To prevent further issues, Clark enrolled his son in before and after care with KCPS.

"There was a couple of times where I would have my kid at a bus stop with other kids and we would realize at the very last minute that the bus wasn't coming and so at that point, I essentially had to call an Uber and get my kid to school," he said.

Zum's founder, Ritu Narayan, tells KSHB 41 News her company is planning to hire at least 110 drivers for the fleet, with positions starting at $24-per-hour along with employee benefits and insurance. The company is also planning to hire the majority of STA's current workforce and says a total of 150 position will be filled.

“Given that we are tech company and provide state of the art equipment and facilities the new drivers are actually attracted to our platforms," Narayan said.

Narayan added Zum has an app that will give parents real-time tracking information, status on pick up and drop offs and give KCPS real-time data and performance reports to better their school routes.

"If they're able to do what they're saying that they would do, it's going to be amazing and an absolute game changer to invest in, and provide deep peace of mind for so many parents," Clark said.

Zum's next local hiring event will take place on Tuesday, May 7 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Courtyard Kansas City Country Club Plaza.

Certified drivers are encouraged to apply. Zum also pays for training and certification for those who are not yet certified.

KCPS released the following statement to KSHB 41 News:

We are excited to partner with Zum Transportation for our student transportation needs, which includes regular bus service to and from school.

In our continued commitment to be better & reach higher, we are always looking for ways to improve our approach inside and outside of the classroom. Our families have made it clear they see student transportation as a top priority and an area that could be improved. 

We believe this new partnership addresses the needs of our families, improving our ability to transport our students to and from school in a safe & efficient manner while also empowering our parents & families with a modern, tech-forward approach.