Metro announces new contracting opportunity in effort to reduce costs, improve efficiency
General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld today announced a new competitive contracting opportunity for Metro's Cinder Bed Road bus facility, which is currently under construction. The announcement continues the GM's ongoing efforts to hold down operating costs and improve customer service, outlined earlier this year in his plan to "Keep Metro Safe, Reliable and Affordable," which recommended competitive contracting of functions where permitted.
The request for proposals (RFP) issued today seeks potential vendors for the management and operation of bus service out of the Cinder Bed facility when it opens next year. Today's RFP follows other successful contracting initiatives, including use of outside specialists for rail track bed cleaning and contract shuttle bus service to support the capital improvement projects and elevator outages.
"Metro is exploring new ways to do business that save the region money, while continuing to improve the quality and safety of service for our customers," said Wiedefeld. "The opening of Cinder Bed Road presents a significant opportunity to competitively contract for new services and is consistent with our "Keep Metro Safe, Reliable and Affordable plan."
The Cinder Bed Road facility in Lorton, VA is scheduled to open in 2018. Nine bus lines will operate out of the facility - roughly approximately five percent of Metro's bus service - serving approximately 10,500 average weekday customers. Approximately 80 buses will operate from, and be maintained at, the facility.
Existing routes will not change, and the transfer to contracted bus service will be largely transparent to customers. In addition, the proposal for Cinder Bed Road will not result in any layoffs for Metro's current workforce; existing Metro employees working these routes will be assigned to other Metro facilities.
Contracting bus service is best practice among transit systems nationally, and Metro is one of the only agencies in the region that currently provides all regular-route bus service in-house. Nationally, nearly one-third of all transit agencies contract out some or all of their bus service, and these transit agencies realize cost reductions from competitive wage rates and overhead, as well as avoidance of pension liability for new employees.