Zūm was funded by SFUSD (The San Francisco Unified School District) a sum of $150M to modernize its transport service throughout the district. It is a startup that wants to upgrade student transportation.
The startup already operates its rideshare-meets-bus service in Oakland, much of Southern California, Seattle, Chicago, and Dallas. It will be responsible for handling day-to-day operations. Like transporting 3,500 students across 150 school campuses starting this fall semester. The startup has a fleet of 206 buses, vans, and cars. It will distribute it by considering busier routes vs not so busy routes. The students who live on busier routes will be on school buses. It will send out cars and vans for others to increase efficiency. Zūm will also facilitate over 2,000 field trips per year for the school district.
What SFUSD funding means for Zūm?
The SFUSD contract is the largest the startup has ever won. The company intends to use the funds to lease vehicles, hire drivers, salaried employees. Also improve customer and operational support, and research and develop product enhancements to support the contract. The district can expect to save around $3 million per year on average by the transportation solution presented by zūm.
A spokesperson said, “These savings are a result of our tech-driven route optimization and operations”. “Zūm has absorbed all the drivers who were previously serving SFUSD. The old buses have been moved out of the city. Zūm has deployed a new fleet of connected school buses and other vehicles, which will be converted to electric by 2025.”
Further optimised offerings
Furthermore, Zūm funded by SFUSD offers school districts a cloud-based dashboard. It allows them to manage operations, track movements. Not only that, but plan a budget use and analyze performance and service data too. This is the kind of tech that makes sense for schools to have. But it still seems radical given how slowly the public sector moves.
The goal in the contract to help SFUSD electrify its entire fleet by 2025 is also very impressive. It cannot get any more efficient and sustainable than this during transport upgrade. Zūm says this contract will mark the first time SFUSD has updated its transportation solution in 40 years.
Earlier this month, Zūm announced a partnership with AutoGrid, an energy management and distribution software company, to transform the company’s fleet of electric buses in San Francisco and Oakland into one of the world’s largest virtual power plants. Between these two contracts, Zūm will be carrying around a 60,000 kWh charge on its EV fleet battery. To put this in perspective, during a power outage this much storage energy can power around 47,000 households per hour.