Luce Transportation will bus Lincolnville children to school following approval of their bid for that town's transportation contract.

During an April 1 meeting of Lincolnville School Board, the topic of awarding the district transportation contract was discussed. Two bids were submitted — one by Lewiston-based Northeast Charters and Tours and the second by Luce Transportation of Hope.

The bids were opened at the School Union 69 Superintendent's office at 4 p.m. and by 9 p.m. that evening, the school board had awarded the contract to Luce Transportation with a 3-2 vote.

The contract covers the operating costs for busing for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years.

The winning bid proposed by Luce Transportation quoted the cost for the first year at $91,900, to increase to $92,900 the following year. Northeast Charters and Tours' bid was for $96,110 in the first year and $98,315 in the second year.

About 20 members of the public attended the meeting. Prior to the vote, some members of the audience spoke in favor of Luce Transportation receiving the contract.

“I believe that this is a very important, for you folks, decision to make,” said William Shuttleworth. “I’d like to point out some things about Wayne [Luce]’s service — he has been in business 25 years and has outstanding letters of recommendation from both the principals of the the Hope and Appleton schools. Probably the most important factors are, for one, it is the lowest bid and he also pays a competitive salary for his drivers that average 9 to 10 years of service.”

Shuttleworth, speaking as a representative for Luce Transportation, also added the company is one of the only bus services to have a state-licensed inspection mechanic on site.

“Bottom line is the safe transportation of kids to school at an economical rate is the most important thing,” he said.

Owner Wayne Luce brought some of the buses to the meeting he has used in Lincolnville in previous years for school board members to inspect, but an inspection or tour did not happen.

“There were some questions about the safety of our buses because we chose to buy older buses and pay our drivers more,” Luce said. “There is nothing wrong with these buses, they pass state inspection and are serviced regularly.”

Camden Herald reporter Dwight Collins can be reached at 236-8511 or dcollins@courierpublicationsllc.com.