Roanoke City getting a new school bus provider

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- For Roanoke City Schools, the city's school bus provider Mountain Valley Transportation is moving out and Durham School Services is moving in. The move will happen right after summer school.

Officials say the move may save them up to $1 million.

Mountain Valley Transportation had a 10-year run with the district.

"We've been very happy with Mountain Valley, they've done a great job, we feel like our kids have been in good hands," said Mark Cathey, Vice Chairman of the Roanoke City School Board.

But now there will be a new company in charge of picking up and dropping off students in the city.

The school board unanimously agreed to a five-year contract with Durham School Services.

"Mountain Valley did participate in the bids but Durham was one of the bidders. There was a blue ribbon committee of really great composition, they are the ones that did the evaluations with a point system. They reported to us and Durham was the winner," Cathey said.

Durham School Services is an established company, providing transportation for several districts across the nation.

"It's truly an honor for us to start up new business for our company here in Roanoke, it's a beautiful city. We are really excited to be here," said John Ziegler, Director of Business Development for Durham School Services.

This will be their first contract in Virginia.

In 2016 the company one of their buses was involved in a fatal crash in Chattanooga, Tennesee. Since then the company says they've taken measure to improve child safety.

"We learned a great deal from that, and today we have implemented many things, for example, our drive cam," Ziegler said.

Bus drivers don't have to worry, Durham looks to hire everyone in good standing and bring on more substitute drivers.

"I would imagine most drivers will see an increase in pay, no one will go backward."

Durham doesn't want kids to notice, they want a seamless transition. The company will host open houses over spring break to meet current drivers and the community.