At the November 23 Board of Education Meeting, the Pine Bush Central School District Board of Education approved an agreement with transportation company Orange County Transit to run 16 bus routes for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year. Earlier this year, the Pine Bush Central School District moved 16 bus routes from Birnie Bus Service to Orange County Transit following driver shortages and transportation issues.
Superintendent of Schools Tim O. Mains explained the New York State Education Department allowed the district to have 30 day contracts, which later extended to 60 day contracts, for the routes which are set to expire on December 4. The district posted a Request for Proposals (RFP) within the first 30 days for those 16 runs and there was only one bidder, Orange County Transit, who is currently responsible for the runs.
The fee for the runs is higher than Birnie Bus Service’s rates, but the approval was met with optimism by school district officials. “Thanks to the skillful work of our Assistant Superintendent for Business we were able to get that bargained down- still extremely high, but a little better. So we’re recommending with the amended figures provided to us by the owner of Orange County Transit today, that you approve the contract for the remainder of this school year,” explained Mains. The RFP does give the district the option to extend that agreement beyond this year.
“I want to be clear that at these rates we will exceed our transportation budget, but in the view of your senior leadership here at the district - we believe that it’s essential that we execute this contract even at the higher prices to be able to guarantee that our kids can get back and forth to school,” shared Mains. With the approval of the agreement for the 16 bus runs, Mains said he will be able to return Pine Bush’s instructional schedule to the regular times beginning this week.