Breaking: MTS Loses Its Bid to Run County Buses

Jul. 29, 2013
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I'm not quite sure how official this is, but I’ve just heard that Milwaukee Transport Services Inc. (MTS), the longtime nonprofit operator of the Milwaukee County Transit System, has lost its bid to continue running county buses.

The Abele administration put the transit management services contract out to bid in April. From what I can tell, the administration informed MTS late last week that another vendor was selected. I don't know how many vendors bid. I wonder if we'll ever know, actually.

I wrote about the transit management bidding process in last week’s Shepherd. Supervisor John Weishan told me of his concerns that the board didn’t have any input into the drafting of the request for proposal (RFP), didn’t have a representative on the committee that was reviewing the RFPs, and wouldn’t have adequate oversight of the vetting of the contract. He was concerned that Abele would select a for-profit transit operator that would slash service so that it could turn a profit. He told me that he was completely uninterested in privatizing the system.

Milwaukee has a unique public-private hybrid bus system. The county owns the buses but the nonprofit MTS has always won the contract to run the system whenever it's been put out to bid.

I’m not quite sure what will happen next but I will update this blog when I learn more information.

Update: Here's a statement from MTS:

"Milwaukee Transport Service, Inc. has been a vital part of the community by operating an award winning Milwaukee County Transit System for 38 years. We are disappointed in the recent decision made by the County and will continue to provide efficient and effective transportation services throughout the rest of the RFP process."




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