The Greensboro City Council expressed full support of the proposed new contract to run the city’s bus system at the Thursday, Feb. 24 virtual work session.

The proposed contract with RATP Dev is on the agenda for the Tuesday, March 1 for approval by the City Council.  There were no objections to approving the contract made at the work session.

The proposal from the Greensboro Department of Transportation (GDOT) is to award the five-year contract to operate the public transit services to RATP Dev at a cost of $122.6 million.  The initial startup cost is listed as $1 million and the first year of the contract, the 2022-2023 fiscal year, is $22.1 million, which increases to $26.5 million in the 2026-2027 fiscal year, the final year of the contract.

The contract with Keolis for the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2022, is for $20.4 million.  The contract with RATP Dev also transfers 15 positions that are currently employees of Keolis to be employees of the City of Greensboro.  During the discussion, GDOT Director Hanna Cockburn said these positions would see a wage increase at least to the $15 an hour minimum wage of the City of Greensboro.

Under the current contract Keolis could have requested a one year extension but declined.  Keolis did, however, bid on the new contract.

It was noted several times during the work session that contract was not being awarded to the lowest bidder but on the basis of the “best value.”

According to Cockburn, all of the committee members who reviewed the bids rated RATP as the best value.  In the overall rating, Keolis finished second.

During the work session discussion there were indications that the cost of public transit in Greensboro would continue to rise.  City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba said the current system was based on 30-minute intervals and that was no longer acceptable in a city the size of Greensboro.  Jaiyeoba said that the city also needed to look at cross town routes so that public transit passengers did not have to go to downtown Greensboro and wait for another bus to get cross town.

Jaiyeoba noted that he would also like for the city to consider trolleys between certain points in the city and that the city had to look at providing bus service outside the current service area such as to Piedmont Triad International Airport.

City Council Expresses Support For Proposed $122.6 Million Bus Contract