AZ: Competition for Bus Service Contract Holds Steady

A five-year bus service contract awarded by Phoenix City Council on Wednesday will have a minimal increase to Phoenix’s public transit budget.

After a highly competitive process, First Transit, a transit management company, was selected to manage the $131.6 million agreement, which is about 1 percent above the current contract cost. First Transit has managed the current contract since 2007.

Management of Phoenix’s two bus service contracts, which include cost for personnel and bus maintenance, is a public/private partnership between the Public Transit Department and its contracted vendors. The city manages other transit-related contracts for fuel and bus purchases.

First Transit’s new contract covers 13 of Phoenix’ bus routes with a 146-bus fleet that annually runs 4.7 million revenue miles. Those routes carry about 12.8 million passenger boardings within Phoenix and the neighboring communities of Avondale, Glendale, Goodyear, Peoria and Scottsdale. In all, Phoenix operates 46 of the Valley Metro bus routes carrying 68 percent of bus passengers in the region.

“Competition to manage bus services allows Phoenix to make best use of our transit improvement dollars,” says Mayor Greg Stanton.

The three competitive bids for the work were evaluated on cost for service and experience of the company: First Transit received the highest overall score.

Councilwoman Thelda Williams, chair of the transit and infrastructure subcommittee, is pleased with the results, “I consider the new contract a successful combination of keeping costs down while maintaining bus service for our passengers.”

The new contract term is from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2018.

Additional Phoenix Bus Service Facts (FY 2012):
• Largest member of the Valley Metro regional transit system
• Two fixed-route bus service contractors: Veolia Transportation Services and First Transit
• Bus fleet carries 38.4 million annual passenger boardings
• Bus fleet carries about 130,000 passengers boardings each weekday
• 465-bus fleet travel a total of 15.8 million annual revenue miles
• Other City transit services includes Phoenix Dial-a-Ride, a 125-vehicle fleet providing 313,000 rides to people with disabilities
• Transit operations are supported by a 4/10th of a cent city sales tax for transit improvements (Transit 2000), Regional Public Transportation Funds, and Federal Transit Administration funding