LIVERMORE, Calif. (KTVU) - Special needs students will no longer ride on the traditional yellow school buses to Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District schools. This coming school year, a very different model of transportation and new drivers will be taking kids to school.
The original bus company, Durham School Services, didn't bid for a new contract with the school district and its current five-year contract ends July 30.
One bus driver, who asked not to be identified, said she transports 22 special needs students each day to and from school. She said she underwent intensive training to work and care for the students, some with physical and behavioral disabilities, on these trips.
265 special needs students take a bus to a Livermore public school. This August, a popular cab service, DeSoto Cab Company, will pick up kids and transport them to and from campus. School district officials said parents parents don't need to worry - their children won't ride in the back of a cab to school.
"Part of what they [DeSoto] do is provide cab services, but they also provide a majority of other transportation means. For our purposes, they'll provide van access,” said MaryAnn Frates, director of Special Education at Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District.
Operating under DeSota Access Transportation, the Pleasanton area transportation company said it ordered 22 vans, half will have wheelchair access.
"The parent can communicate with us for anything they specifically need,” said DeSoto’s operations manager Philip Ferrucci.
“We have some children that have to be air conditioned at a certain temperature. If it gets too warm, they can go into seizures."
The school district said the Department of Justice will also run background checks on the drivers and all drivers for the district will receive special training to work with special needs students.
"Specifically, special education department will provide direct training on a yearly basis to the drivers,” said Frates.
Students will still use the yellow Durham buses for summer school, but will ride to school in the black DeSoto vans starting August 22nd. DeSoto Access Transportation said parents can call the company directly with any specific requests for their child’s ride to school.