August 2011 Board Meeting

Last night, August 11, BFT held their monthly meeting of the board. Though it is a rather simple affair, the board meeting brings to light a lot of information that normally isn’t circulated nor heavily advertised, but still is important none the less. The other benefit of going to the board meeting is that by doing so, I can get a copy of the board packet, a stack of documents and memos and whatnots that get passed out to each attending board member, as well as any member of the public attending who requests one (though I’ve never seen anyone else do it at the meetings that I’ve attended.)

With that in mind, I’ll go ahead and share a few things from last night’s meeting, as well as some new bits of information.

Leo Bowman, Chairman of the board, opened the meeting. Last month he was absent, so it was good to see him back. It was funny to see that Mr. Bowman, along with 2 other council members, had brought along iPads. They went through the course of approving the resolutions that were present on the Consent Agenda, which were:

  • Resolution 26-2011: Award Vehicle Alignment Machine.
  • Resolution 27-2011: Extend contract with Sun West Sportswear for driver uniforms.
  • Resolution 28-2011: Declaring two Dial-A-Ride vehicles surplus.

The good thing about Resolutions 26/27 is that BFT is helping to support local businesses and bring commerce to the local area. For the Dial-A-Ride vehicles, it had been discussed at the Operations and Maintenance Committee on August 3 how the vehicles are way past their useful life with 300k+ miles, and both having suffered major engine failures already, making it cost-prohibitive to keep them on the road. Jerry Otto, the fleet manager, stated that maintenance has already stripped the vehicles for parts, and they now able to be sent out to a wrecking yard.

Under Action Items was a 4th resolution that was pending council approval, Resolution 29-2011, which was to “Award contracted services contracts to TC Transportation Services Inc. Pasco WA.” Passing unanimously, this means that TC Transportation Services Inc. (also known as Tri-City Taxi) will be running 5 services for BFT: Taxi Feeder, TransPlus+ Night Service, Vanpool Guaranteed Ride Home, Dial-A-Ride Supplemental Service, and Finley Demand Response Service. Of the 5, TC Transportation Services has had the contracts for the first 4 for the last 5 plus years, while A+ Transportation (of Yakima, WA) has had the contract for Finley Demand Response Service. However, in their bid for the contract, TC Transportation Service’s proposed cost of service came about $75,000 under the cost proposed by A+ Transportation, so it wasn’t too hard for TC Transportation Services to win the contract. It should also be noted that TC Transportation Services was the only company to submit a proposal for all 5 services, while A+ Transportation only submitted proposals for Dial-A-Ride Supplemental Service and Finley Demand Response Service. BFT also stands to save some extra money this way, as TC Transportation Services promised to shave 5% off the total cost of the contracts if BFT awarded them all the services.

Towards the end of the meeting, there was a Maintenance and Operations Projects Report from Dick Ciccone, who mentioned that BFT has been having some issues with the contractor who built the new Administration building and expanded the base facilities. The original contract for construction was a 365-day contract, but the contractor has asked to have this extended to a 700+ day contract, as well as be paid an additional $400,000 on the original $4.5 million. Mr. Ciccone did not have much good to say about the contractor, and most present at the board meeting seemed to understand the problems he was referencing.

Lastly, to close the meeting, the board members were given a chance to make any personal observations or comments. The one I found most interesting was Leo Bowman’s, who simply stated, “Transit should be treated as a utility.” Powerful words.

After the meeting, I took the time to comb through all the papers in the board packet. Hiding in the list of July vouchers is a line that states a vendor, Mason Transit, is being paid $4,348.00 for “2-1993 Gillig Buses.” I find this rather interesting and surprising as there has been zero mention of acquiring any new buses since the last of the buses purchased used from C-TRAN (Vancouver WA) arrived. Looking further into it, I was able to find out a little bit about the buses. They run (or rather, “ran”) as Mason Transit coaches 801 and 802. They are 30 foot Gillig Phantom coaches, with seating for 23 passengers, and are powered by a Cummins C8.3 engine. Pictures of what the buses look like are rather hard to come across. Apart from a photo taken by @AtomicTaco of one of Mason Transit’s cutaways, there are no photos of Mason Transit available online. As I mentioned on Twitter, I expect that when these buses arrive, they’ll be labelled as BFT coaches 281 and 282.

Also in the packet was a copy of the service proposal from TC Transportation Services for the contracted services. Since there’s quite a bit of information in the proposal, I’m gonna spend a bit more time on it, and will have a new post on it for next week.

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