School Bus Tender

Information and updates relating to the upcoming open tender for daily bus and technology bus services.

While the responsibility of getting students to and from school sits with caregivers, the Ministry offers assistance to students where distance is a barrier to education.

Ministry of Education is the second largest provider of passenger services in New Zealand. This includes:

  • managing approximately 7,000 vehicle journeys each school day
  • carrying 40 million passenger journeys each year
  • assisting over 100,000 students safely to and from school every day
  • managing contracts for 78 transport providers for bus services, specialised transport, and ferry services.

Open tender information

The current daily bus and technology bus contracts expire on 31 December 2020. Under the Government Rules of Sourcing, the Ministry must go to open tender.

We will start the tender process in 2019, with tenderers being advised of the outcome in early to mid-2020.

In a series of workshops held earlier this year with current contracted suppliers and supply chain representatives, Ministry officials shared the tender time frames and discussed the high level vehicle specifications that could be considered during the next school bus tender.

Industry feedback (both transport providers and supply chain) sought further clarification to give operators confidence in their fleet renewal programmes. Following is clarification for emissions and seating specifications for the tender.

Emissions Performance

Vehicle age will continue to be used as a proxy for emissions performance.

In line with the Government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, we want a younger fleet to enhance vehicle emission performance.

While the specific details are yet to be finalised, it is likely that the maximum vehicle age will be reduced from the current 26 years. A maximum average age may also be introduced.

Vehicle Seating

In the interests of student comfort we are setting some loading requirements in addition to Certificate of Loading maximums. Specifically:

  1. All students must have a seat, i.e. standees are not permitted; and
  2. 2/3 seating may only be used where the seating configuration uses bench seats or touching lightly moulded seats; and
  3. 2/3 seating may only be used for students in years 1-6, i.e., 2/3 seating may not be used for year 7-8 (intermediate) students

The Ministry’s perspective is that should seatbelts be required in school buses in the future, that process should be managed by regulation, rather than through procurement. We are not aware of any pending regulatory change for seatbelts in school buses.

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