YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Days after being called “disappointingly inconsistent” by Yorktown’s superintendent, Total Transportation, the school district’s new bus contractor, faced the music at a school board meeting on Monday, Oct. 5.
“Total Transportation has never been one to hide from complaints,” said Todd Farber, chief operating officer. “That’s not what we do.”
The company, which owns more than a dozen transportation contracts in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, has taken over for the now-shuttered Baumann and Sons. Total assumed Baumann’s contract with Yorktown through bankruptcy proceedings in August, giving the company weeks to prepare for an already complicated school year.
“It has been a challenge, to say the least, with such a short turnaround time and dealing [with] the conditions of COVID,” Farber said.
Nevertheless, Dr. Ron Hatter, superintendent of Yorktown Schools, said Total’s performance leaves room for improvement.
“They have been disappointingly inconsistent, and we have taken them to task on this,” he said in a video to the community on Wednesday, Sept. 30. “We’re going to continue having these conversations until they can perform at the level of service that our students deserve. That’s non-negotiable.”
Total Transportation’s executive said the message has been received loud and clear.
“Yorktown has the full attention of Total Transportation and all of our resources to get this service up to the level you guys expect as quickly as possible,” Farber said.
The company has a 71-bus fleet in Yorktown, meaning it needs a large and well-trained staff for operations to run smoothly. That has proven difficult, given Total’s late start. By the time his company assumed the contract, Farber said, many of the Baumann drivers had taken other jobs, while many declined to come back because of concerns over COVID-19. Total remains about 15 drivers short, he said.
Total has also installed new radio systems and GPS units to better relay real-time information to parents and the district.
Jackie Carbone, president of the school board, thanked Total for taking the concerns seriously.
“I am appreciative of the steps you have taken,” Carbone said. “I’m hoping the community will be patient as we move along.”