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Privatization of Nassau County Bus- A Dangerous Operation- Pt. 2. First Transit


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Pt. 1: Veolia Transportation

First Transit

First Transit, whose parent company is UK-based First Group, operates in 41 U.S. states in over 200 locations, including Puerto Rico, Canada, and various college campuses. Despite priding itself on its safety and top-notch service, Firtst Transit is known in many cities for its high-profile accidents and poor service.


In Houston, Texas, First Transit`s accident rate was 87% higher than Metro, the City`s pblic transit system, and the company has nearly double the number of passenger complaints.


First Transit`s poor ratings should come as no surprise, given that on numerous occasions, the company has failed to provide adequate trainings and background checks for its drivers, which in Houston, make 70% of the salaries of their publicly employed competitors.



First Transit`s negligence has resulted in countless deaths and injuries, like the death of 9-year-old Jennifer Rodrigues, who was hit a drier with a criminal record of reckless driving violations. To sae their public image, First Transit paid $10 million to the victim`s family.


In another case in Texas, a First Transit driver hit Myesha Taylor Thomas, a bus cleaner for the company, along with two of her coworkers. Thomas was kllied, and her coworkers severely injured. Investigators later found that the driver, who was paid a poverty wage of just over $16,000 a year did not have a valid commerical driver`s license, and had received no formal bus driver training.


Employee Relations

First Transit`s failure to pay their workers a familly-sustaining wage backfired again when nearly all of the employees in Tuscaloosa, Alabama refused to drive their regular bus routes, resulting in massive service interruptions for riders. First Transit paid the workers a mere $9.50 an hour, comparable to the $17 an hour that workers driving for companies of similar size were making.


Forced with the decision to get new buses and new employees or increase the pay of the workers, First Transit decided to increase the workers pay to $11.00 an hour. A living wage for parent and child in Tuscaloosa is $16.74 an hour. Given that First Transit`s contract did not include sick days or health care, $11.00 would be hard to lie off of.


Without adequate health care or sick days can even result in tragic accidents like the death of a First Transit employee in Houston, Texas. The driver, Deborah Brooks, radioed the dispatcher several times, complaining of feeling seriously ill and later of the chest pains, but was forced to continue working. A co-worker found the Brooks collapsed in her van, where she would later die.


Pt. 3: MV Transportation

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