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Artesia Approves Dial-A-Ride Contract With Fiesta Taxi
By Tammye McDuff and Brian Hews
The Artesia City Council, on a 5-0 vote, approved the contract for Fiesta Taxi to operate the current Dial-A Ride (DAR) service offered in Artesia.
DAR services Alondra Blvd. to the north, Valley View St. to the east, Del Amo Blvd. to the south, and Bellflower Blvd. to the west.
DAR also offers service to “satellite locations” outside the basic service area on Tuesdays and Thursdays only from 9 AM to 3 PM.
The City of Artesia entered into a contract with Oldtimers Foundation [Foundation] to provide DAR transportation for seniors and disabled residents. This contract was from January 2015 through to December 2015. In April of this year the city received notification that the Foundation would no longer provide the DAR services due to its own financial difficulties.
The Foundation attempted to locate local transportation services that would assume the contract and found Global Paratransit to take over the existing contract while the City went through the formal process of selecting another vendor.
Global Paratransit agreed to assume the contract without any changes to rates or services during the interim Request for Proposal process.
At the close of the RFP, Fiesta Taxi cooperative, Inc and MV Transportation submitted proposals. During the review period, it was noted that Fiesta did not include information in their proposal that would show a significant economic savings to the City. Because the July 10th deadline to submit an RFP had passed, Council rejected both proposals and reissued a new RFP.
The new RFP requested that vendors provide a proposal based on the way the program was currently running, with suggestions for a more cost efficient program. Currently, two buses run from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm and one bus from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday. The DAR is free of charge to riders. The City historically receives $155,000 to operate the DAR program from Proposition A funding. Charging for services would only be considered if the cost of the operations did not fit within the allotments from grant funds.
MV Transportation proposed to offer one bus from 8:00am to 1:00 pm, to be supplemented by a taxi service if needed, and then a full time taxi service from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Monday through Friday. The hourly service rate would cost $46.06 for the first year and $43.40 for the second year and the $45.07 for the third year. The annual cost of 3,096 hours would be approximately $142,601 for year one, $134,366 for year two and $139,536 for the third year. Each year cost is under the City’s grant allocation.
The proposal does not require the city to purchase any cards or software to issue to the riders. MV’ s system would be able to share detailed ridership information including active users, trip distances, trip times, and volume of rides per hour based on their dispatch management software. This information would help the city better understand how the program is being utilized and by whom, to make future decisions regarding the program operations.
Fiesta Taxi Cooperative, Inc proposed the operation of the DAR through full taxi service Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. The proposed billing would be a per ride basis, rather than an hourly rate.
Taxi rides are billed on mileage and time of trip. Depending on traffic a trip from location A to location B could fluctuate in cost. Fiesta proposed annual costs for year one with 7,200 trips at $92,880, year two at 7,300 rides per year at $91,250 and for the third year with 7,500 rides at $91,250.
Unlike MV, year one with Fiesta includes a onetime set up fee of $5,000 and annual fee of $5,000 to transfer existing customers to the EZTransport card system. Each subsequent year’s annual fee of $5,000 minimum would be charged for the EZTransport card management system of software and new user cards.
After approval, there were several mixed reviews regarding the service provided to residents, indicating that a lower cost could mean a lower standard of service.
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