TRANSPORTATION OPINION: THEY NEVER LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES

To the Editor,

Brega Transport started their TOR contract with the County of Rockland in November 2013 with a fully operational fleet of 62 buses. I have insisted all along they never had a staff of managers or mechanics that had the capability to service the buses properly. Only now, almost 10 months into the service, does Brega finally have a few transit bus mechanics. Coach USA had the mechanics and management that kept the TOR buses on the road. We would not be facing the bus shortage now if Coach USA had the contract.

Regarding the February 2014 bus fire in Pearl River. The 2004 Gillig that burned to the ground was serviced only two days before it caught fire. The preliminary report was supposed to be out last week. If the PTSB found that the bus caught fire because it was dirty, we would have heard that by now. I doubt that report will have good news in it.

In justifying wasteful millions on bus washing, the Legislature speaks of industry standards like they know what they actually are. Industry standards for a fixed route system does not include putting 25 foot para-transit buses (TRIPS) in service in place of transit buses as the county has been forced to do. Industry standards do not include taking 1999 retired buses from Albany to replace 1998 buses that the contractor could not keep in service.

Can Brega Transport guarantee he can keep the four retired Novas from Albany in service? I doubt it.

This all comes down to one thing. The county chose a company that never ran a fixed route transit system of the size and scope of the TOR system. The contract should go back out to bid, and if the county is lucky a real carrier will bid on it. But the way the county treated the other bidders no company may bid on it, and that would be a tremendous loss for the county. It did not have to be this way.

Sincerely,

John Leopoldo
Regional Maintenance Director at MV Transportation