One of the finest school buses in North America was designed and built in 1913 for $700.00. It was constructed under the supervision of Frank A. Patchett, the local Ford Motor agent in Newman California at the request of a Newman Elementary School Board trustee, Mr. WW. Giddings. The bus provided safe transportation of students to and from the town school at a cost of 12.5 cents per student per day.
The bus was built on a Model T Truck chassis. The frame was extended and a chain and sprocket drive added. A wooden passenger compartment with benches was mounted on the truck frame. Inflatable tires were placed in front with solid rubber tires on the rear. As the district's enrollment grew, Patchett responded by adding a trailer which carried the boys while the girls remained in the bus. The chain and sprocket drive enabled the 20 B.H.P. engine to move the bus and trailer with ease.
The Patchett Bus and Transportation Company was sold to the ARA Transportation Group which is now owned by Laidlaw Education Services.
Reconstruction of the old school bus was undertaken by Barney Rademacher and David Coehlo, employees of the Patchett Company, in 1963 for the 75th Jubilee of the City of Newman California. The cost of this work was $4,500.00.
Today, First Student, Inc. the premier school bus contractor in North America, with over 40,000 units, provides safe, comfortable, convenient transportation for more than 2.3 million school children every day.