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108 CHAPTER 10 Case Studies of Procurement and Contracting Best Practices It has been estimated that between 70% and 90% of ADA operator wages, which are too often a casualty of the compet- paratransit programs use one or more contracted operators. itive bidding process. The goal is to generate competitive cost Some systems also use contractors to perform reservations proposals that also accurately reflect competitive vehicle oper- and scheduling and sometimes the dispatch function as well; ator wage rates and fringe benefits and result in a more stable depending on the contractual arrangements and relation- vehicle operator workforce. ships, these can be part of a turn-key operation contract or The objective of this portion of the research was to collect best could be a contract for call center management or brokerage practice examples of procurement documents that directly or management services, with separate contracts for operations. indirectly resulted in a fair vehicle operator compensation pack- Because the use of contractors for ADA paratransit is so pre- age and to determine how positively those strategies effected dominant, the ways in which contractors are procured bears operator recruitment and retention. examination relative to their impact on the recruitment and retention of operators. Approach and Methodology Some transit agencies include in their procurement docu- ments (RFP, sample contract) terms and/or requirements that The first step in the research was to identify transit systems result in effective operator recruitment and a low turnover rate. who indicated in the national survey that they crafted their pro- For example, some transit agencies have developed procure- curement documents to contain one or more of the following ment documents that specify a minimum vehicle operator provisions: wage rate or "livable wage rate" or even a "competitive wage rate." Moreover, some transit agencies have asked in their RFP Statements that a stable, experienced operator workforce for proposers to provide detailed information about wage rates was expected, along with evaluation criteria that put more and the fringe benefits that are available to operators. These weight on proposals that include effective vehicle operator agencies have discovered that it is not sufficient to question recruitment and retention efforts or which otherwise evi- whether or not a proposer offers health care coverage to its dence how this is to be achieved. employees, which only tells half the story; a follow-up and Requirements to provide detailed information about spe- more illuminating question asks for the percentage of health cific operator recruitment and retention activities and the care premiums that the employee must contribute. For exam- associated level of effort and cost specific to each effort. ple, if the percentage contribution is unrealistically high for an Requirements for a minimum operator wage rate or "living employee, health insurance effectively becomes unattainable. wage" or favorable or competitive operator wages rates, Other transit agencies in their procurement documents have along with additional requirements to provide details of the emphasized the importance of operator recruitment and the operator wage rates, including training wage rates, starting retention of a stable work force in a more circuitous manner by wage rates, and maximum wage rates per vehicle type if (1) including evaluation criteria and/or bonuses paid to the appropriate for each year of the contract. contractor for achieving a certain level of operator retention Requirements to provide detailed cost information or and/or (2) requiring or providing bonuses for 100% pull-out assumptions about the levels of fringe benefits provided coverage. and the required employee percentage of contributions for By including such terms, these transit agencies are working health care insurance for each category of employee (single, to discourage the submission of proposals that include low married, family, etc.).