Bus company loses contract after Action News Jax Investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Late pickups and drop offs, crowded busses and possible civil rights violations could be a thing of the past for some Jacksonville students. Duval County’s biggest school bus company is losing contracts after an Action News Jax investigation.

Investigator Emily Turner has been uncovering major safety concerns about Student Transportation of America for almost a year. Now, she found the district is taking major action against the company.

Action News Jax first reported on major safety concerns with Student Transportation of America, or STA, in November of 2022. Whistleblowers, calling out their employer, warning parents and the district, saying, “they don’t care about the students.” Another adds, “they unsafe, they unstaffed.”


Action News Jax’s award winning ‘Troubled Ride to School’ series uncovered concerns about crowded busses, missed pickups for special needs students, and children left waiting on the side of the road for hours. Mom Shinika Hunt told us, “I just need someone to take full accountability of the issue, because something has to be done.”

So Investigator Emily Turner took the concerns to the district, asking, “what more can you do to hold companies like STA accountable?” She sat down with Paul Soares, the Assistant Super Intendent of Operations in December of last year. He’s since retired, but made this promise before he left: “Obviously, if a company performs and can’t get adequate staffing, at some point it is there it is their fault. and they need to take obviously be accountable for it.”

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Now, it looks like that’s happening. Action News Jax found two zones contracted to Student Transportation of America have instead been awarded to Durham School Services, the districts other bus contractor. That means 220 routes in the Arlington and Mayport areas would soon be serviced by a new provider, making a major difference for thousands of students and their ride to and from school each day, because as Soares said, “we have to continue striving to provide service every day no matter how difficult it is.

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The deal will be official once the school board votes on the new contract at its meeting next month on the 7th and take effect July of next year ahead of the new school year. So far STA hasn’t filed a notice of protest or responded to our request for comment.

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