City sticks with current bus operators

DOWNEY - MV Transportation will continue to operate Downey's bus system after the City Council extended its contract Tuesday an additional 18 months.The contract is worth more than $1.2 million and is funded by Prop. A funds and passenger fares. L.A. County voters approved Prop. A - a 1/2 cent sales tax hike in 1980 - to finance transit programs. MV Transportation has operated the Downey Link system since 2002. It controls a fleet of seven propane-powered buses. All buses are deployed during the school year and "peak hours of operation." The bus system operates Monday through Friday. Last year, more than 269,000 bus riders used Downey Link. "MV Transportation has 30 years experience in the business of public transportation and has contracts throughout California and in a number of states nationwide," Arlene Salazar, interim director of parks and recreation, wrote in a staff report. "Its key personnel are very familiar with public fixed route systems and in particular the City's DowneyLINK." In a separate 18-month deal, Downey also contracted with MV Transportation to provide part-time drivers for the city's Deal-A-Ride program. The city employs five full-time and five-part-time drivers, which operate a fleet of six buses seven days of week. The part-time drivers provided by MV Transportation will be used during staff vacancies and shortages. According to Salazar, finding part-time drivers is difficult because they cannot exceed 999 hours per fiscal year. Downey has had four open positions for part-time drivers since January 2011. "(The city) interviewed 12 applicants, four were offered a part-time position and only one accepted," Salazar said. "Two full-time vacancies exist and recruitment and hiring is anticipated to be completed by the end of September." The $94,000 contract is entirely funded by Prop. A funds. Downey Dial-A-Ride provides curb-to-curb transportation for senior citizens and the disabled who have no other means of transportation.

********** Published: June 14, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 09