Metro Magazine

JUL 2014

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24 < m ETRO m AGAZINE JULY 2014 metro-magazine.com Whether reallocating feet assignments or revamping an organization's safety culture, private contractors are tapping innovative technologies and programs to create solutions for the challenges faced by today's public transit systems. BY JANNA STARCIC, Executive Editor "Solution providers" is an apt name for private contractors of public transporta- tion services. Whether it's implementing cost-saving initiatives or introducing an overhaul of an operation's safety culture, outsourcing can be the obvious solution for many. Tapping the expertise of contractors ap- pears to be a growing trend, with more and more transit agencies turning to outsourc- ing than ever before, says Dick Alexander, sr. VP, business development, for Veolia Transportation. "I think a lot of it [has to do with] the eco- nomic crisis," he says of the development. "I think those that might have been on the fence about whether to contract or not, found the economic conditions were such that t they needed to turn to it because the private sector can do it cheaper and more efciently." First Transit's sr. VP, operations, western region, Nick Promponas, says, "Agencies who have historically outsourced remain committed to the model and continue to use it in their deployment strategy." To that end, the number of companies Contractors: Providing Solutions for Transit's Challenges ofering outsourcing services is growing. "There are more people entering the market, it's just more competitive," Alex- ander says. "Instead of competing against two other people, you are competing against fve." Read on to find out how three private contractors are using innovative programs and technologies to create solutions for the challenges faced by today's public transit systems. FIRST TRANSIT- VALLEY METRO REGIONAL PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY Transit agencies looking to take advan- tage of the benefts of outsourcing services include the Phoenix-based Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Author- ity (RPTA), which hired First Transit to take over operation of its City of Mesa fa- cility and the City of Tempe's fxed-route operations and maintenance services on behalf of Valley Metro to help identify ef- ficiencies. The three-year base contract, with seven, one-year options, which be- gan last July, includes management of ap- proximately 300 vehicles and more than 700 employees. Challenges: The RPTA and the City of Tempe were considering proposals that would consolidate fxed-route services in the East Valley for the purposes of gain- ing efciencies, such as reduced mileage — which equates to less wear and tear on their equipment and reduced fuel costs — through reallocating feet assignments between the transit facilities in Mesa and Tempe, Promponas says. Tey solicited for proposals to evaluate the current service structure and to deter- mine how to best deploy the feet to meet these objectives, he says. Solutions: "Our analysis determined that up to 90 vehicles could be reassigned from Mesa to Tempe," Promponas says. Te steps taken to achieve this includ- ed the development of a comprehensive run cut that not only reassigned vehi- cles, but also adjusted running times to reduce non-productive time. Also, care- ful consideration and analysis of exist- ing staffing as well as labor agreement wages and benefts between both yards Nassau Inter-County Express recently launched a mobile fare app to attract new riders.

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