First Student, Inc. and Mile Square Transportation today announced a joint venture to provide student transportation services in the Hudson Valley, Westchester and Bronx areas in New York under the name First Mile Square, LLC. This partnership combines North America’s largest student transportation provider with the leading yellow school bus service in lower-Westchester County, New York.
The new venture will build on Mile Square's customer relationships, existing fleet and staff, along with First Student's industry-leading safety practices, training programs and scalable resource model. First Mile Square will continue to be based in Yonkers; and (Mile Square) president Harry Rodriguez will maintain a senior leadership role in the new venture.
When the opportunity arose to unite with First Student—which has a fleet of 49,000 buses across the US and Canada—Harry Rodriguez was thrilled. “I am living the American dream,” commented the Argentina-born Rodriguez, as he recalled how in 1990 he began his school bus company with just one vehicle. Today, Mile Square Transportation has more than 460 yellow school buses that are housed in seven locations throughout lower-Westchester.
“Partnering with First Student—a powerful, award-winning industry leader in safety, reliability and service—is a chance of a lifetime. I believe First Student will provide the expertise, support, training, and access to technological advances needed to ensure Mile Square Transportation’s future success,” says Rodriguez.
First Student President Dennis R. Maple added, "It is a privilege to serve Hudson Valley, Westchester and the Bronx, and to lend our support to the trusted relationships that have been built here. Our focus throughout this transition has been on the vitality of the local community. The First Student Vision of 'keeping people moving and communities prospering' is what we are committed to continuing as First Mile Square."
“I’m so grateful to have such a strong circle of supporters who helped me along the way. Many thanks to my drivers, mechanics and dispatchers, as well as the community leaders and school personnel,” says Rodriguez who continued with praise of his long-time attorney, Paul W. Meyer, Jr., Esq., for his diligent legal counsel; Rajeev (Reggie) Chennattu, Principal Broker, Regency Commercial Realtors, the person responsible for presenting the idea of a joint venture to Rodriguez; and Christian Gartner, SVP of Finance at First Student.
Since First Mile Square will be fully operational by September 1st, what facet of the new business does the company expect to tackle first? “We will take on an even greater role in the service of our community and will keep focused on continually improving safety and reliability," said Rodriguez. "After all, we are carrying our children who are precious cargo. They are our first concern—and will always be the first priority at First Mile Square.”