Procuring School Transportation Services in New York State
The Request for Proposal (RFP) Process
New York’s RFP process ensures school districts have the ability to procure safe, reliable and cost effective student transportation services. This process has been used successfully by school districts since 1996 with over 300 school districts currently utilizing contractor-provided school transportation services.
When did New York State begin using the RFP process to procure school transportation services?
The New York School Bus Contractors Association helped get the school bus RFP bill signed into law in 1996 under Governor Pataki.
More effective alternative to low-bid method…
Prior to 1996, there were instances where school districts received poor or substandard school transportation services because the low-bid method would often lead to inferior companies winning contracts strictly based on price. The Request for Proposal process serves as a better alternative to the old low-bid procurement method ensuring school districts can award contracts based on a number of factors, such as safety record, quality of service, and years of experience – not just price.
How is an RFP Awarded?
Typically the school district will establish an RFP committee to evaluate the proposals and award the contract with consideration given to safety, quality, experience and pricing. In many cases, site visits to prospective companies are required as part of the RFP process. A district may ask questions throughout the process and typically set times when contractors can ask questions regarding the RFP. The district controls the entire process and will issue a schedule or timeline for the RFP process – reserving the right to change it if necessary.
What does the RFP committee evaluate in addition to pricing?
Committees look at the following:
- The company’s safety record
- Condition and location of their facilities
- Experience of their management team
- Hiring practices
- Maintenance programs — including New York State records
- Technical plan of the proposal to insure that it meets the needs of the district
- Financial stability of the company
What are the legal consequences of selecting the best proposal?
As long as the school districts objectively follow the format of the RFP, New York State courts have supported the RFP process — without exception.
Where can I get more information?
Go to the New York State Education Department website to find more information about procuring school bus transportation services or contact the New York School Bus Contractors Association.