Perrysburg picks top pitch from transit providers
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Friday, 17 August 2012 10:10
PERRYSBURG - Members of council's Health, Sanitation and Public Utilities Committee are recommending that the city contract with St. Louis-based transit firm Ride Right LLC for its public transit needs.
The 2-1 decision came after an hours-long series of presentations and a question-and-answer session with four firms, additionally including MV Transportation of Dallas, Texas; Black and White, Toledo; and La Fleur, Tupelo, Miss.
TARTA service will be ending in the city on Sept. 22, and a new service is expected to start in January.
"At the end of the day, they were going to provide a pretty solid service for a very solid price," HSPU Chair Todd Grayson said of Ride Right.
Ride Right, an affiliate of Medical Transportation Management, operates a number of sites around the country, including in areas such as Cincinnati, Pennsylvania and Indiana. For a cost of approximately $531,000 per year, they proposed a service of three vehicles for Perrysburg, with eight to 10 drivers, utilizing a local facility in the Fort Meigs business area.
Ride Right's Vice President for Paratransit Operations, Patrick McNiff, indicated that "we have experience with similar operations" to what the city is looking for.
"I think we have a track record for improving service," he said.
"So I do believe that we can provide you with quality service that you won't have to pay 30 percent more for."
This the second time that HSPU has recommended a transit firm to council. The committee had recommended in July, in a 2-1 decision, that council contract with MV, the nation's largest supplier of public transportation, at a cost of approximately $701,000 per year. However, at the July 31 council meeting, council tabled that legislation and asked that the committee further discuss the matter. Some on council had voiced their interest in contracting with a firm located in the region.
Price seemed to be a motivating factor in Thursday's decision - Ride Right presented the lowest bid of the four finalists, and committee members' rubrics favored lower pricing in scoring candidates.
"Sixty percent of the score was for price," said Grayson. "And they were almost as qualified in terms of the overall presentation and options and extras and details of service, but they were far and away the lowest price."
Councilman John Kevern, who alone of the three committee members voted for Black and White, said that "I felt it important to go local." However, he praised Ride Right, stating "I think they're a first-class outfit. They're well-represented." Black and White's bid was just under $619,500 annually.
A 1.45-mill, five-year levy has been voted by council to appear on the November ballot, raising approximately $825,000 for transit. Council may seek to collect fewer mills if they find they will need fewer funds to operate the system. A transit firm could not be contracted without the passage of the measure.
A more than two-hour series of presentations preceded the decision by the committee, with media and transit representatives outnumbering the uncharacteristically small crowd of spectators.
Among the firms, Black and White made the most impassioned case for the contract, bringing seven employees and even creating a mock-up of a transit ID card for committee members to see. They touted their local ties and stake in the community.
"We have existing relationships here, and we want to be here with you. And I know it's a tough choice to make and we really want the business," said owner Scott Potter at the meeting.
Council will consider the recommendation at its Aug. 21 meeting.