Transport of Rockland Request for Operator Proposals
Posted 28 February 2012 - 09:03 PM
Richard Brega Jr., owner and president of Brega Transport Corp. in Valley Cottage, has objected to the county’s competitive bid process on several grounds, including the qualifications the county is requiring for bus drivers and who will pay for the technology equipment that will go on the buses.
Last year, Brega successfully challenged the county over its bidding process in state Supreme Court. As a result, the county’s Department of Public Transportation has been forced to use sealed competitive bidding — in which the lowest responsible bidder is awarded the five-year contract — instead of a request for proposals, which county officials favored because it gave them more leeway in selecting a company at the best value.
Brega, who filed the four protests Friday with County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, said the new request for bid violated the order issued by Justice Francis Nicolai in November.
“It does not comply with anything that he has put in his ruling,” Brega said Tuesday.
Vanderhoef has the option to reject each of the protests or make changes to all or some of the bid documents. In the meantime, the bid process is on hold until the county executive makes a decision. County attorneys are still reviewing the protests, Vanderhoef spokesman Ron Levine said.
If one or more of the protests are denied, Brega threatened to take the county back to court.
Since the bid request was issued Feb. 1, 10 vendors have downloaded the document from the county’s purchasing department website. The final bids are to be submitted by March 16.
The county’s Transport of Rockland and Tappan Zee Express services provide about 3.5 million rides a year. A county transportation official said the department is seeking to upgrade technological features on the county-owned fleet to meet the changing demands of riders.
“There is better technology out there than we have been using,” Rockland Transit Administrator Bill Schule said.
How to pay for that technology is one of the points of contention with Brega and his lawyer, Burt Dorfman.
They said the county is asking the winning bidder to acquire and install the hardware and software for an intelligent transit system, or ITS, which could cost several million dollars, and then sell it back to the county at a later date. The technology is used for dispatching the buses, knowing where they are at all times, and estimating real-time arrivals and departures.
Dorfman contends that having the bidder buy the equipment violates the county’s procurement policy, which requires competitive bidding for equipment costing more than $20,000. It also sidesteps the Rockland Legislature, which is responsible for awarding bids that are more than $100,000, and doesn’t take advantage of federal grants available to buy ITS equipment, he said.
Schule acknowledged the competitive bid puts the onus on the bidder to have the buses properly outfitted because the county doesn’t want to use other vendors to install the technology after the bid award and interrupt service. He declined to speak directly about Brega’s protests.
Brega also took issue with the county’s requirement that every bus driver hired by the new operator have a Class B commercial driver’s license that has been valid for the past three years. He said it should be changed to include those seeking specialized training.
“We all know there are a lot of people out of work in Rockland County, looking to be retrained and find good-paying union jobs,” Brega said. “This would disqualify them.”
-The Journal News
Rockland County bus bid delayed again as firm files new protests | The Journal News | LoHud.com | LoHud.com
Among the technologies the provider must offer are:
- The County’s current bus operator already provides some level of Computer Aided Dispatch/Automatic Vehicle Location (CAD/AVL), Driver Feedback Training System (DFTS) and a farebox collection system, all of which would need to be provided should another vendor be chosen to operate the services. The RFB provides bidders with the specifications for such systems. With CAD/AVL, the bus dispatcher knows where every bus is and estimates of real-time arrivals and departures.
- The Driver Feedback Training System (DFTS) is intended to improve driver training, increase safety and provide better service to the ridership. A digital camera system installed in the front of the bus records vehicle motion, speed and other particulars. It contrasts that information with periodic driver actions to enable specific feedback to management on how drivers react to the myriad of transit bus situations, from passenger customer service interaction to road and driving conditions.
- Fare collection equipment enables standardized bus fare collection methodology, reduced or eliminated revenue losses, and decreased driver cash collection responsibilities.
- The public transportation department is interested in offering text-messaging services for the ridership.
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Edited by johnleo6066, 04 August 2012 - 07:03 AM.
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