Letter: Problems persist with Dattco school buses

To the Editor:

The superintendent, Gary Cialfi sent a letter to the management of Dattco complaining about the number of breakdowns requiring students to transfer to other buses sometimes in dangerous locations, 70-plus this year alone. The response from Dattco indicated that they saw no problem and couldn’t understand why we weren’t happy with their service. The town sees it differently. Problems of reliability and safety exist and want changes made to improve in those areas.

Dattco has a five year contract to provide safe efficient service which is questionable as to how they can claim to be providing safe and efficient service when 70 plus breakdowns are occurring this year alone and they can’t or won’t address the problem.

The buses are leased for five years by the town from Dattco’s New Britain dealership. Bus companies that we had in the past brought their own buses to the job. Somehow some very smart people on the Board of Education both elected and office personnel (the Superintendent and staff) were sold on this idea as both cost effective and efficient. Unfortunately things are not working out very well.

Dattco has two more years in our pockets unless the board decides to take them on and cancel the contract. The five year contract is worth $25 million plus extras for field trips and athletics. We have a right to expect better. We had much better service from First Student, for many years. The town’s residents should be more proactive when large contracts are going out for consideration. Intelligent impact should help in avoiding mistakes. Everything's not fine as Dattco would have us believe with their response letter to the Board of Education.

It is time to find a way to get out from under this bad contract and avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Anthony V. Elliano