By Ed Runyan
Community Bus Services, which has provided public transportation services in Trumbull County for many years, has a challenger bidding against it to provide the services to Trumbull Transit the next five years.
The challenger — Garwin Inc. of Hubbard — has offered a lower bid price than Community Bus, though lowest price isn’t the only factor considered, a Trumbull Transit official said.
Garwin Inc. and Community Bus Services of Warren and Youngstown offered bids for the $1.5 million to $2 million worth of services to be provided starting in September.
The bids were opened at a public meeting Friday at the Trumbull County commissioners’ meeting room.
Trumbull Transit provides on-demand rides for senior citizens, disabled residents, students and others. Many of the rides cost $1.50 to $2.
Money to pay for the rides comes from the countywide senior-services levy, federal transportation funds and fees from riders and schools.
It is the first time Trumbull Transit has advertised for a service provider since it took over the service at the start of 2012 from the city of Niles, which called the service Niles Trumbull Transit.
Trumbull Transit assumed the contract Niles Trumbull Transit already had with Community Bus Services, said Mark Hess, Niles engineering and grants coordinator.
Hess is a consultant for Trumbull Transit.
Garwin’s bid was $42.14 per vehicle-hour of service, while Community Bus offered a bid of $57.75 per vehicle-hour.
But other factors are considered besides price, such as experience in the field, performance history, type of vehicles used, vehicle- maintenance history and employee training, Hess said.
The next contract will cover one year starting Sept. 15 with the possibility of four, one-year renewals, Hess said.