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BrooklynBus

The MTA's Image Problem

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Overall, IMHO, the article was positive, giving credit to the new chairman. I think there's some misunderstanding about maintenance. There's a big difference between working on tracks and the signal system versus repairing station platforms. It's always safer to work on out of service tracks. Walls can be painted and floors repaired without worrying about being hit by a train.

 

When the union compliments the chairman, that certainly mean something.

 

I recently moved from Washington, DC. The system shut down several stations over a holiday weekend and substituted bus service for repairs.

 

But there is a cost issue that hasn't been explained. Nassau County pulled out from the MTA and hired Veolia to operate the county bus service. The County's comptroller calculated $87.12 per vehicle hour to pay Veolia and calculated a MTA cost of $128 per vehicle hour. The County was unable to answer my question of how Veolia could operate at a lower vehicle cost/hour beyond a generic explanation of "efficiencies." This makes me wonder if Veolia should operate regional bus operations.:cool:

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There are many ways to count costs. You need to see what the MTA was including and what Veolia is including. You have to compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges. My guess is that the MTA was including factors not directly related to bus operations. They may be factoring in a small percentage of their debt service relating to buses or including amortizing the cost of the buses over their lifetime, etc. Veolia may only be counting direct costs such as salaries, gas and maintenance.

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There are many ways to count costs. You need to see what the MTA was including and what Veolia is including. You have to compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges. My guess is that the MTA was including factors not directly related to bus operations. They may be factoring in a small percentage of their debt service relating to buses or including amortizing the cost of the buses over their lifetime, etc. Veolia may only be counting direct costs such as salaries, gas and maintenance.

 

The email from the county is below. They calculated MTA costs based on cost data from the MTA so I have to assume the MTA and Veolia costs are on an apples-to-apples basis.

 

"Mr. XX,

 

 

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"

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The email from the county is below. They calculated MTA costs based on cost data from the MTA so I have to assume the MTA and Veolia costs are on an apples-to-apples basis.

 

"Mr. XX,

 

 

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"

 

Something doesn't sound right. I can understand "reduced administration head count," but it doesn't make sense how Veolia can obtain "favorable fuel costs" and "favorable parts procurement agreements" when the MTA buys fuel for its entire fleet and procures so many more parts since it has 6,000+ buses. The implication is that the MTA is somehow grossly negligent in not taking advantage of volume discounts while Veolia is taking advantage of these discounts. I find that very difficult to believe. The MTA is just not that dumb. There is something going on that is not being discussed, like they are employing part time drivers which the MTA cannot do.

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Something doesn't sound right. I can understand "reduced administration head count," but it doesn't make sense how Veolia can obtain "favorable fuel costs" and "favorable parts procurement agreements" when the MTA buys fuel for its entire fleet and procures so many more parts since it has 6,000+ buses. The implication is that the MTA is somehow grossly negligent in not taking advantage of volume discounts while Veolia is taking advantage of these discounts. I find that very difficult to believe. The MTA is just not that dumb. There is something going on that is not being discussed, like they are employing part time drivers which the MTA cannot do.

 

I agree something is missing but I don't know what. The County resisted putting everything out in the open, which of course makes everything look more suspicious.

 

All I can say is I tried to get an explanation.:o

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