Fayette officials split on award to Central Cab
Author: Liz Zemba
Date: June 18, 2015
“Deadhead” miles nearly left some bus riders stranded at their stops in Fayette County.
With contracts for three bus routes provided by Fayette Area Coordinated Transportation set to expire on July 1, commissioners on Thursday debated rejecting two companies' proposals before awarding the contract to one of the providers.
Vincent Zapotosky wanted to award the contract for the Brownsville Express, Brownsville-Republic and Masontown-Fairchance routes to Brownsville Bus Lines, even though their proposal was costlier than that of a competitor, Central Cab of Waynesburg.
Angela Zimmerlink said because Central Cab was $17,550 cheaper over the life of the two-year contract, commissioners had no choice but to select them. Zapotosky countered that since the provider will use the county's buses, Brownsville was ultimately less costly when deadhead miles are taken into account.
Deadhead miles are those incurred when a vehicle travels to and from its garage with no paying customers aboard, according to the nonprofit website definedterm.com. Zapotosky said deadhead miles will depreciate the value of the county's buses, even though FACT Operations Manager Kim Renze said the $330,000 buses were purchased with federal money.
Leigh Mansberry, Central Cab's controller, said deadhead miles will be limited to fewer than 50 per day because Central Cab will park the county's buses in Uniontown when they are not in use. She said deadhead costs are actually borne by the bus company, with the long-term depreciation costs to the county amounting to just “pennies per mile.”
Zapotosky last week said using Brownsville Bus Lines would retain jobs for Fayette residents, but Mansberry said Central Cab spent $500,000 last year in payroll for Fayette-based employees.
“And we will hire more people in Fayette County,” Mansberry said.
Zapotosky's motion to award the contract to Brownsville Bus Lines died for lack of a second, as did one by Zimmerlink to award it to Central Cab.
Al Ambrosini made a motion to conduct an internal cost analysis of the depreciatory impact of deadhead miles on the two company's proposals. Renze said he can't do the analysis because he has no idea of each company's operational costs, and Ambrosini's motion failed for lack of a second.
When solicitor John Cupp said both proposals could be rejected so the county can readvertise, Renze said he would need to hire four more employees to keep the routes running when contracts expire on July 1.
Ambrosini ultimately sided with Zimmerlink, voting to award the contracts to Central Cab.