MV Transportation loses Vallejo, Beni...

MV Transportation loses Vallejo, Benicia bus contract to California newcomer

Posted in the Vallejo Forum


Vallejo, CA

#1 Mar 22, 2013
MV Transportation loses Vallejo, Benicia bus contract to California newcomer

Despite impassioned pleas to stick with an operator they already know, Soltrans board members Thursday awarded a five-year bus contract to a firm new to California -- National Express.

National Express will take over Vallejo and Benicia bus operations July 1 in a contract which will cost $7.5 million more over 7 years than the existing operator, MV Transportation -- mainly due to higher employee costs.

While moved by emotional remarks of MV Transportation CEO/President Kevin Klika and Vallejo Chamber, board members said they would stick with staff's recommendation and the outcome of the long request for proposal process.

MV Transportation has operated the bus service for both Benicia and Vallejo under separate contracts before services were consolidated in 2011. The firm has run operations since the two cities merged their bus systems.

National Express has extensive service in Great Britain, but is just getting its feet wet in the United States, officials said. The firm has several contracts on the East Coast, but its Soltrans contract will be the first one in California.

Following the meeting, 22-year bus driver Linda Garry said she was "happy" and relieved with the new National Express contract. She said drivers have been without a contract for nearly two years and have not gotten a raise since 2008.

Though not speaking directly on the new contract, bus rider Teirria Degruy said she and many other riders are unhappy with Soltrans. She cited missed connections, long waits, lack of schedules and not receiving any responses to their complaints.

The new contract, one Soltrans official said, would also establish terms for providing better service, including being on time and responding to complaints in a timely manner.

Vallejo Chamber members loyal to the firm also pled that the board stick with MV Transportation.

"This is an established local business," Vallejo Chamber board president Pippin Dew said, adding that loss of MV Transportation would lead to low morale, lost jobs and vacant buildings.

Klika spoke at length about MV Transportation's commitment to the community, and its many years in Vallejo and Benicia. He posed strong objections to the Request for Proposal Process and the scoring method in which his firm got low marks.

He also apologized for past mistakes, but said disputes with Soltrans never impacted bus service.

"I don't understand why we are not keeping this relationship," Klika said.

Following the meeting, Klika said he was disappointed, but had no plans to protest the board's decision.

Meanwhile, board member Jim Spering, a Solano County Supervisor, said costs should not always be the bottom line, and also said prior disputes with MV were not a factor.

"If $7 million is being saved on the backs of employees, I'm concerned about that," Spering said.

Though it had an overall higher cost, National Express came out on top based on "best value" -- a selection process taking into account price, employee relations, management and creative approaches.

The contract proposal involved soliciting responses, and then convening a panel of transit officials from Napa, Marin and Oxnard which reviewed four firms on experience, employee protection, management and operations and references. Responses to these items were then tallied into a score with National Express earning the highest marks.

Spering said the lowest contract bidder often does not provide the best value and employee satisfaction and customer service should be high considerations.

Board member Elizabeth Patterson, Benicia's mayor, said overall performance and a look to the future are key. "We want to have an excellent transit service and to grow our service," she said.
Vallejo Resident

San Francisco, CA

#2 Mar 22, 2013
Sorry about MV, but I've traveled with National Express in the U.K. and they are top-notch. We'll have to wait and see, but I suspect it was a good decision.

Vacaville, CA

#3 Mar 22, 2013
This is great for Vallejo.

Vallejo, CA

#4 Mar 22, 2013
National Express Group - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

National Express Group plc (LSE: NEX) is a multinational public transport company headquartered in Birmingham that operates bus, coach, rail and tram services in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Spain, Portugal and Morocco and long-distance coach services across Europe. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.
old timey ways

South San Francisco, CA

#5 Mar 22, 2013
Just as long as the coons sit in the back.

Vallejo, CA

#6 Mar 22, 2013

National Express vision and values

Opportunities Ahead for North American School Bus

San Rafael, CA

#7 Mar 23, 2013
old timey ways wrote:
Just as long as the coons sit in the back.

Walnut Creek, CA

#8 Mar 23, 2013
Sorry.. but there seems to be two separate statements in here...
The new service will save 7 million and the new service will cost an additional 7 million.
Which is it ?... and if it's the latter where is it coming from ?

Vallejo, CA

#9 Mar 27, 2013
National Express North American Transit win

National Express' North American Transit business, National Express Transit, has also been selected to provide operations and maintenance for Solano County Transit ("SolTrans"), located in Vallejo, California.

This contract is worth $8 million of revenue in the first year, and is for an initial five year term with an option to extend by up to two years. Overall the contract has potential total revenue of $60 million.

The contract is significant as it is National Express Transit's first in the important Californian market. The contract also encompasses all forms of transit - local fixed route, regional commuter express bus service, paratransit and General Public Dial-a-Ride - as well as customer service and vehicle and facility maintenance functions throughout the cities of Vallejo, Benicia and Fairfield, California.

The contract was awarded after a competition that judged both the operator's bidding price and service quality proposition. In around a year National Express has built up a transit business with more than $75 million of annualized revenue. This win provides another platform for further growth in a market where we have an identified pipeline of $300 million of capital-light opportunities.

Dean Finch, Group Chief Executive of National Express said: "These announcements demonstrate the international appeal of our market-leading and value-for-money services. Within a year our North American transit business has emerged as an important new player in the market. This significant new agreement with London Luton Airport further consolidates our position as the UK's coach market leader. These wins are further proof of the exciting pipeline of value-generating, new business opportunities we have developed."

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