City chooses new bus provider

Somewhat reluctantly, Carson City supervisors Thursday chose a new contractor to run the community transportation system.

Under orders from the Federal Transportation Administration, city officials were forced to seek bids for the dial-a-ride transit service that has been operated by Paratransit Services for five years.

Paratransit was the highest of three bidders for the service, and supervisors awarded the contract to MV Transportation of Fairfield, Calif., despite complaints from Paratransit officials that MV's bid was impossibly low.

The city has a $437,500 budget for the transit service. Paratransit bid over $526,000 for the service, compared with a $385,800 bid from MV. A third company, Budget Chauffeur, bid $429,700 for the service.

"I'm mystified at how they're going to do it at the price they bid," Paratransit president Bill Mahan said. "Paratransit couldn't do it. If you have the guarantee they're going to be able to do it, you can't ask for more than that. We know what it costs; we've run it for five years, and I don't see how you can get underneath that."

Around 30 bus riders in attendance, most of them seniors, expressed concerns over the change of service, several fearing the city would choose to discontinue the service.

Barbara Cooper, 80, chided city leaders that she has "no car, no relatives. I can't see. You wouldn't want me driving."

She attributed part of the recovery success of her recent hip surgery to community transportation getting her where she needed to go.

"I ride it every day of the week," she said. "When you got a good thing, why do you have to change it?"

Shirley Boucher said she wouldn't have been able to log 92 volunteer hours at the Carson City Library without the transit service, which "does so much for seniors in this town."

Supervisors tried to calm their fears that while the administration would change, the service they receive will stay the same and perhaps even be improved with the estimated $51,000 savings.

"As much as we hate to lose an old friend, this is the right thing to do for the people using the service," Mayor Ray Masayko said.

Masayko complimented Paratransit's service and said without them the city wouldn't have been able to make the system work.

"This is not something we're looking at and saying, golly, we're tired of doing business with you," he said. "We're not tired of doing business with you. This is a requirement."

Jon Monson, MV chief executive officer, gave his word "that we'll do a good job for you."

"I certainly know that change can be difficult in a community, and I know people can be uneasy in a change," Monson said. "You will see no degradation in services. You will see a fresh, new look at your system."

MV Transportation will take over transit services July 1. Paratransit employees about 21 people, and while Monson said all drivers and hourly employees will be retained, current transit general manager Marc Reynolds predicted about half would lose their jobs.


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