Chartered school bus company to pay fine for safety violation

A chartered school bus company that operates in Washington state has settled a complaint about safety violations with state regulators.

The Utilities and Transportation Commission announced a $198,000 settlement with Ohio-based First Student Inc. in a news release.

The deal came after staff filed a complaint in February finding “new and repeated security breaches”. The company operates nationwide, including Pierce and Thurston counties, Seattle and Vashon Island, the News Tribune reported.

The company admitted to 396 security breaches and agreed to pay $188,000, according to the statement. Only $68,000 is due immediately. The remaining $120,000 will be suspended for three years and reversed if the company does not repeat any violations during that time.

First Student also agreed to pay a previously suspended $10,000 fine for repeated violations. UTC fined the company $23,700 in 2019, but suspended $10,000 provided it met certain criteria and had not committed violations for two years.

Scott Gulbransen, a spokesman for First Student, said the company has focused on resolving all violations and most of them were resolved in February.

“We greatly appreciate the work we have been able to do with UTC and remain committed to the safety of everyone we transport in the region,” Gulbransen said.

Lynn A. Saleh