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OCR for page 119
119 The Contractor Perspective vious periods fell short of the requirements due to lack of oper- ators, which caused the City to over-budget. For the past five The General Manager for MV Transportation reported that or so years, the City has been able to maintain its budget pre- the success it has had working with the City of Phoenix is due cisely. Important to note, immediately prior to the most recent to a "successful, true partnership" between the two organiza- contract with MV Transportation, the City approved a sales tax tions. He gave credit for the positive working relationship to the measure that allocated more money to transit. In just a 2-year City's understanding of the operation, saying: "[The Director of period, the City was able to double its number of service hours Transportation Contract Services] knows how our system provided, and the contractor was able to provide an adequate works--he understands the nuts and the bolts." workforce to meet this new induced demand. The current average wage for an operator is $14.45, which According to City staff, the greatest challenge when nego- is adequate according to the terms outlined in the RFP. In tiating contracts is trying to convince bidders to change their addition to a reasonable wage, though, the general manager mindset or approach when developing their proposals. He said it is important to look for individuals who are customer- said that most bidders are accustomed to winning a contract service oriented. He also indicated that a good work environ- based almost entirely on price rather than service. He noted ment and other non-monetary rewards have measurable pos- that in the Phoenix process, when reviewing proposals, the itive effects on turnover. He noted that these methods were price for each bidder was not revealed to the evaluation com- helpful in MV Transportation's response to the City's RFP mittee. As a result, the committee was only able to evaluate requirement of a description of "methods to be taken in order based on the merits of the proposals. A City staffer expressed: to attract and retain" employees. Annually, MV Transporta- "I feel that we had a successful procurement in that the suc- tion in Phoenix sees about a 21% turnover rate. It was noted cessful proposer is still with us and doing a very good job, that 83 of MV's 180200 paratransit vehicle operators have which was our objective to have them competing on the qual- over 8 years of experience. ity of service, rather than the price. By the way, the successful Both the City staff and MV General Manager reported that proposer was not the lowest bidder." the financial incentives or penalties were not a motivator to provide good service. MV Transportation does adhere to goals outlined by the City, and they have "monitors all over the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, place," indicating current levels of on-time performance, aver- San Diego, CA age hold time for a customer on the phone, etc. This keeps all San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) is the public personnel informed of the current situation and helps to strive transit agency that provides bus and rail services directly or by for the best customer service possible. Regardless of whether contract with public or private operators. MTS manages the the motivation for good service is the contract with the city or scheduling, frequency of service, and hours of operation for its just good business practice, MV Transportation receives more existing services covering approximately 570 miles in and financial rewards than penalties. around San Diego. Existing passenger services include 82 bus The MV General Manager also commented that RFPs and routes, three trolley lines, and ADA paratransit service that contracts should be specific: "The more specific the agency can together serve over 3 million residents. ADA paratransit service be when putting the proposal together and creating the vision is called MTS Access. that they want, then the end result will be more successful." Use of Contractors for ADA Paratransit Reported Results First Transit is the contractor for MTS Access. The contrac- The contractor for paratransit service has a relatively low tor is 100% turn-key and handles all operations functions. turnover rate for a private contracted operation (reported to Vehicles are owned by MTS. be 21%). A third of operators have been employed with the contractor for over 8 years. City of Phoenix transportation Procurement/Contractual Provisions staff also reported that "this has improved service and produc- tivity by volumes." The Director of Transportation Contract In the survey, MTS reported that it had moderate success Services commented, "It definitely improves productivity and including (1) language that a stable, experienced operator service quality when you treat your employees well." workforce was expected; (2) requirements for proposers to On the books, the City and contractor have yet to experience provide wage scales, and (3) specific incentives and/or penal- a day with high numbers of closed runs. Budgeted hours from ties for uncovered runs. the most recent contract indicate that the contractor is always RFPs include wage standards, which are set to increase or able to meet allotted hours, whereas before contractors in pre- decrease according to the market, thus creating a level playing