First Transit to operate City of Rochester’s transit system.

Today the city council unanimously voted (6-0 with Hanson absent) to approve the independent recommendation to select First Transit to operate Rochester’s transit system.  There were four companies competing, but everyone was interested in whether First Transit or stick with Rochester City Lines.

If we are going to be a serious player for businesses we must be fair to those that wish to compete here.  After a fair process, we had an impartial recommendation that stated that First Transit was the best of 4 choices (all capable) while Rochester City Lines came in last.  First transit also cost $2 million less over 54 months based on operating 70,000 hours per year.  To look at these facts and chose anything but First Transit would be cronyism at its worst.  I asked questions about the process and found it to be exceedingly fair.  RCL questioned if the request for proposals was fair, but the example that they raised about experience with new technologies, was actually something that I strongly think is needed.

We also secured an understanding with First Transit that they would recognize the existing ATU organization and would be offering positions to existing employees first.  If we lowered our costs by pushing working families into poverty we accomplish nothing.  I have already told these workers, that I will continue to have their backs.  I respect how good these drivers are.

Dan Holter continues to threaten to run a parallel transit system that he implies will cause harm to the city’s system.  That kind of entitled behavior leaves me shaking my head.  That said, if he can run a successful system that will only help transit in Rochester, but to do so he will have to follow rules pertaining to franchises.

There is no love lost between me and Dan Holter, given his lobbying antics, belief that he is “entitled” to a profit, and his holding us hostage for that profit.  But we lose credibility as a city if we don’t have a fair process to choose our venders.  We did have a fair process, and made a decision based on facts.  We did not make any sort of decision based on spite or revenge.

This should have no negative impact on Dan Holter’s business since in a statement to the city council he stated hasn’t made any profit in 44 years…

It will be interesting how long the wasteful lawsuits continue.  We will see tremendous improvements in transit between now and 2016.  We are going to see better access, faster service, and more hours, and we can best achieve this by working with the best.

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