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112 Use of Contractors for ADA Paratransit correctly and for the carrier to have a back-up plan for call- ing in operators willing to work overtime. RTD's ADA paratransit service is organized as follows: RTD contracts with First Transit to operate its paratransit call center. As part of this contract, First Transit provides reser- The Contractor Perspective vations, scheduling, and dispatching services for access-a- The Executive Director of Special Transit had a slightly dif- Ride, and reservations for access-a-Cab. RTD has separate ferent take on the provisions in the RTD's procurement/ contracts with four different carriers to operate access-a-Ride contractual document, indicating that the provisions had per- services in Denver: Global Transportation, MV Transporta- haps less significant impact on vehicle operator recruitment tion, Special Transit, and Coach USA. Special Transit is also in actual practice but also acknowledging that the liquidated contracted for service in Boulder, CO. The call center con- damages for uncovered runs did provide an impetus for Spe- tractor develops the daily schedules and transmits daily run cial Transit's maintaining a sufficient roster of operators. She manifests to each of the contractors. stated that the challenge for Special Transit is to balance the potential for liquidated damages against the cost of having Procurement/Contractual Provisions excess operators, since the Call Center contractor (First Tran- sit) can cut runs at any time. She added that RTD's practice In the survey, RTD reported that it had had significant suc- of providing transit passes to contractor operators (at no cost cess with (1) specific evaluation criteria for a stable experi- to the operators) had a positive impact on Special Transit's enced workforce; (2) requiring proposers to provide wage ability to recruit and retain operators. scales, and (3) specifying liquidated damages for uncovered runs. With respect to these strategies, the RTD access-a-Ride service manager attached the following note: Reported Results Points are assigned via the evaluation process for a range of Special Transit reported an annualized operator turnover issues such as understanding and approach to the RFP, firm and rate of about 35% for its access-a-Ride service in Denver. staff experience and costs. While we do not mandate specific Interestingly, the Executive Director also reports a 0% turn- wages, we do identify current wage scales. Liquidated damages over rate for its access-a-Ride operators in Boulder. She and incentives are designed to motivate contractors to perform attributed this dramatic difference to the fact that the Denver within acceptable service standards. operators are unionized, and the Boulder operators are not (Special Transit inherited a union shop when it took over the The relevant provisions in RTD's paratransit RFP are: entire regional service in 2000 on an emergency basis for RTD). She further explained that the seniority-based shift- Proposal Evaluation Criteria for Wage Rates. Proposers bid process (which is required by the union agreement) results who state that they will maintain (or increase) the current in the newer operators getting the worst shifts (nights, week- wage scales are given points accordingly. Proposers who ends, etc.), and that the operator turnover in Denver is most state that their wage scales are below the current ones are acute among the newer operators. In contrast, Special Tran- marked down. The purpose of this is to maintain a consis- sit has more flexibility in matching individual operators' tency in the wage scale from one contract to the next. RTD needs with shift requirements in the Boulder operation. views this evaluation criterion as a significant contributor to this goal, which in turn has contributed to low operator Attrition Rate. RTD reported that its contractors have attrition rates. experienced operator attrition rates ranging from 20% to 35%. Contract incentives and/or penalties related to maintain- ing an adequate vehicle operator workforce or covering all Run Coverage. RTD indicated that since the run coverage runs assigned. As a contract provision, RTD assesses a $500 provision was instituted, the average number of "give-backs" fine for each uncovered run, whether it is a result of not have been reduced from 5 per week to perhaps 1 per month. enough operators and/or not enough vehicles. On days when there are an unexpected and large number of operator Community Transit, Everett, WA call-outs, a carrier may not be able to cover all of the runs. In this circumstance, RTD allows a carrier to re-distribute Community Transit is a special-purpose municipal corpo- trips from light runs to other runs where these trips might ration providing public transportation services in Snohomish fit. However, in some cases, this may not be possible, and the County, WA. Community Transit's services include fixed-route carrier has no other choice but to give back the run. In this transit, vanpool, ride-matching, and paratransit (DART). In case, a $500 fine is assessed per "give-back." This provision 2004, over 8 million passenger trips were made on the system, is thus an inducement for a carrier to size an extra board and Community Transit carried 57% of all Snohomish County-