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nostalgia

Cost of MTA Regional Bus Operations

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I originally posted this information on the NICE service adjustment page. HOWEVER the information is so important I'm posting it here as well.

 

In the service contract with the County, Veolia agreed to a variable rate of $87.12 per vehicle hour. The County Comptroller estimated that the MTA cost is $128.05 per vehicle hour.

 

I wrote to Veolia to find out how they were able squeeze $41/vehicle hour out of operating costs. I got the answer below:

 

I appreciate your question regarding NICE buses efforts to reduce general operating costs in regards to our contract in Nassau County.

 

As preciously mentioned, Veolia has been able to reduce costs through various different methods which include, but are not limited to, favorable fuel cost contracts, reduced administration head count, favorable parts procurement agreements, etc. I am not able to supply you with a detailed line by line accounting of these savings but they affect every aspect of our operations in Nassau.

 

 

Additionally by carefully and methodically understanding the way our riders use the current system, our system planners have carefully adjusted the system to minimize the effects on riders while maximizing the savings to the County.

 

We pride ourselves on offering safe, reliable transportation to the Citizens of Nassau County and will continue to look for ways to both improve the current system and increase our service levels.

 

Thank you,

 

Danielle Bachor

 

Communications Manager

 

Nassau County

 

I don't understand how Veolia can cut costs after taking over operations since January 1, but the MTA can't cut costs and they have been operating the system for decades. Veolia is paying the same salaries to operators as the MTA.

 

While I think this is important information in understanding operations, reader response will ultimately determine its value.

 

This may prove helpful the next time the MTA wants to reduce or eliminate service. A side point is if bus operations cost more than what Veolia is charging, are train operations costing too much?

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But do they still pay the same pension and benefits?

 

By the way, what's the story with their pensions? Do they get credit for years worked at the MTA and the MTA and Veolia split the cost based on how many years they served with each company, or what's the deal with that?

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But do they still pay the same pension and benefits?

 

By the way, what's the story with their pensions? Do they get credit for years worked at the MTA and the MTA and Veolia split the cost based on how many years they served with each company, or what's the deal with that?

 

What's really strange is when the MTA took over the private bus carriers (Green, Triboro, etc.), the MTA didn't state that costs would be less. I don't remember reading anything on this issue. The city was subsidizing the private carriers and I think their plan was to have the State take over the service (and operating losses) through absorption into the MTA. However the State required the City to still pay some of the losses. Otherwise, the takeover would just shift the subsidization to the State.

 

Veolia taking over MTA operations is the opposite of the MTA taking over the private carriers.B)

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I don't understand how Veolia can cut costs after taking over operations since January 1, but the MTA can't cut costs and they have been operating the system for decades. Veolia is paying the same salaries to operators as the MTA.

 

While I think this is important information in understanding operations, reader response will ultimately determine its value.

 

This may prove helpful the next time the MTA wants to reduce or eliminate service. A side point is if bus operations cost more than what Veolia is charging, are train operations costing too much?

 

 

Veolia may be paying the same hourly rate that the MTA did, but...

 

- is Veolia paying for the same number of hours?

 

- how many drivers does Veolia actually have as compared to MTA?

 

- is there still an "extra list"?

 

- is there still a vacation relief list?

 

- how many maintainers does Veolia have as compared to MTA?

 

- how many dispatchers does Veolia have as compared to MTA?

 

- might Veolia be absorbing (or hiding) some of its costs for political purposes?

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Veolia may be paying the same hourly rate that the MTA did, but...

 

- is Veolia paying for the same number of hours?

 

- how many drivers does Veolia actually have as compared to MTA?

 

- is there still an "extra list"?

 

- is there still a vacation relief list?

 

- how many maintainers does Veolia have as compared to MTA?

 

- how many dispatchers does Veolia have as compared to MTA?

 

- might Veolia be absorbing (or hiding) some of its costs for political purposes?

 

I tried to cut and paste a table from the comptroller's review, without success because of formatting issues. Before cuts, the MTA operated 983,822 hours and their reduced plan would be 818,318 hours. Veolia plans to operate 760,596 hours. So yes, Veolia plans to operate fewer hours but it doesn't explain a 30% lower vehicle hourly cost than the MTA.

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