City committee will vote on transit

Company would operate Augusta buses

Augusta's public services committee is expected to vote Monday on the vendor chosen to take over management of the city's bus system for the next five years.

Mobility Transit Services LLC of Knoxville, Tenn., scored the highest of three companies ranked by an evaluation committee.

The committee's members included Transit Director Heyward Johnson and Procurement Director Geri Sams.

The committee did not evaluate two vendors -- Veolia Transportation of Marietta, Ga., and First Transit of Cincinnati -- after their bids were deemed noncompliant for having incorrect E-Verify numbers to confirm employees' eligibility to work in the United States.

Mobility scored highest among companies ranked in the criteria of "approach to providing transit services," references and proximity to the area, according to documents included in today's meeting packet.

Mobility scored less than vendor MV Transit of Fairfield, Calif., in price and less than vendor McDonald Transit of Fort Worth, Texas, in qualifications and experience but had the highest total score of the three, 81.8 out of a possible 100 points.

Thirty-six-year-old MV Transit's cost proposal showed a total savings of $7.5 million over five years but included converting all drivers to part time, according to a comparison sheet.

Mobility, whose years in business are listed as "new," showed a total savings of $2 million over five years.

Third-ranked McDonald Transit, with 38 years in business, projected savings of $1.2 million over five years.

The commission has been under pressure to relinquish transit service to the private sector after learning the service operates at an annual loss of $5 million.

A bus riders' group has also levied numerous complaints about the system's operations. Commissioners have said a private operator might address inefficiencies in the system.

The recommendation goes before Augusta's public services committee when it meets at 12:50 p.m. today. The proposal must go before the entire commission for final approval.

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