Kent State University in northeast Ohio has invited private companies to submit proposals for a five-year contract to provide campus bus transportation that would include three fixed routes and various shuttle and demand-response services.
Since 2004, the university has contracted with the local transit system, Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA), for bus services, but sees an opportunity to cut its costs by outsourcing the program to a private contractor. The university is also hoping to increase the flexibility of the shuttle bus program, making it more responsive to changes in passenger demand.
Under the current contract, the university pays PARTA approximately $2 million per year for bus services.
Tom Clapper, Kent State’s general manager for transportation services, said the university’s decision to issue the request for proposals (RFP) was influenced by a similar action by the University of Akron (See related story http://www.metro-magazine.com/Channel/University-Transit/News/Story/2008/12/University-of-Akron-expands-shuttle-bus-service.aspx ) in which it ended a long-term contract with its local transit provider, Metro RTA, and outsourced shuttle bus services to a private operator.
The university is asking the contractor to provide 27,000 hours of service in the first year of the contract. Fleet size is expected to be 14 buses, including 12 26-passenger vehicles and two buses for passengers with special needs.
Responses to the RFP are due by March 11 and the contract service is scheduled to begin on Aug. 31. “We anticipate good quality proposals and will make the best decision for Kent State once we have all the information,” Clapper said.