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Charter school bus company to pay fine for safety violations

April 14, 2022 GMT

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A charter school bus company that operates in Washington state has settled a complaint over safety violations with state regulators.

The Utilities and Transportation Commission announced a $198,000 settlement with Ohio-based First Student Inc. in a news release.

The agreement came after staff filed a complaint in February, finding “new and repeated safety violations.” The company operates throughout the country, including Pierce and Thurston counties, Seattle and Vashon Island, the News Tribune reported.

The company admitted to 396 safety violations and agreed to pay $188,000, according to the release. Only $68,000 is due immediately. The remaining $120,000 will be suspended for three years and waived if the company doesn’t repeat any violations during that period.

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First Student also agreed to pay a previously suspended $10,000 penalty for repeated violations. The UTC fined the company $23,700 in 2019 but suspended $10,000 on the condition it met certain criteria and did not commit violations for two years.

Scott Gulbransen, a First Student spokesperson, said the company has been focused on fixing all violations and most of them were addressed in February.

“We very much appreciate the work we were able to do with the UTC and remain committed to the safety of all of those we transport in the area,” Gulbransen said.