First Student Signs $90 Million Deal for Flat-Front Buses from Thomas Built

CINCINNATI— First Student, Inc., North America’s leader in student transportation and U.S. subsidiary of FirstGroup America, recently signed a $90 million contract with Thomas Built Buses, Inc., to supply Type D, Saf-T-Liner ® flat-front transit-style buses over the next three years. This agreement makes Thomas Built the exclusive provider of flat-front buses to First Student.

“We are pleased to be entering into this agreement with Thomas Built,” said Carey Paster, CEO and President Sales, Marketing & Commercial Development of FirstGroup America. “Safety is a core value at First Student. We pride ourselves on our safety record, dedicated personnel and overall performance. Investing in regular upgrades to our fleet is just one more way we ensure the four million children entrusted to us on our buses ride safely and securely to and from school each day. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously.”

Thomas Built Buses is North America’s leading bus manufacturer, offering a full line of school, commercial and specialty buses. More than one-third of the school buses on the road today are Thomas Built Buses. The company is both headquartered and operates its manufacturing plant out of High Point, North Carolina.

All of the buses ordered by First Student will be built to its customers’ specifications and equipped with front safety crossing gates, electronic child check reminder system and GPS technology to meet First Student’s mandatory safety requirements.


The new Thomas Built buses meet 2007 U.S. emissions standards, making them among the cleanest burning buses on the road today. In fact, research shows buses that meet the 2007 standard burn 60 times cleaner than buses built before 1990.

“Thomas Built Buses is proud to have been selected as First Student’s exclusive supplier of Type D buses,” said Thomas Built president and CEO John O’Leary. “As the company which annually supplies the largest number of school buses to North America, we are excited to be partners with the company which operates the largest fleet of school buses in North America. Thomas is looking forward to helping First Student achieve its mission of safely delivering students to and from school each and every day.”

Paster added, “These new buses reaffirm First Student’s solid commitment to providing safe student transportation, unparalleled customer service and responsible environmental stewardship for the school districts it serves across the country.“

Editor’s Note: Photo available upon request.

About First Student

First Student, Inc. the U.S. subsidiary of FirstGroup America, is the largest provider of school bus transportation in North America. With a fleet of 62,000 yellow school buses, First Student safely transports nearly 4 million students to and from school every day across the U.S. and Canada. First Student is dedicated to providing the safest and most efficient student transportation service in North America. For more information, please visit

About FirstGroup America

FirstGroup America, headquartered in Cincinnati, is North America’s largest transportation company. With 98,000 employees, FirstGroup America operates First Student, the largest provider of student transportation in the U.S. and Canada; First Transit, the largest private provider of transit management and contracting services; First Services, the largest private sector provider of fleet maintenance services, and Greyhound bus lines. Parent corporation FirstGroup PLC, is the world’s leading transportation company, serving more than 2.5 billion passengers per year throughout the U.K. and North America. For more information, visit

About Thomas Built

Thomas Built Buses ( is the leading manufacturer of school buses in North America, with more than one-third of the market. Since the first Thomas Built bus rolled off the assembly line in 1936, the company has focused on delivering the smartest and most innovative buses in North America.

Thomas Built Buses, Inc. is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer on the continent and a leading manufacturer of class 3-8 vehicles. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company.

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