Editor's Note: The following announcement was submitted by the Office of Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino.
Westchester County’s Bee-Line Bus System will continue to be operated by Liberty Lines of Yonkers and PTLA of Cortlandt under new five-year contracts that will be submitted by County Executive Robert P. Astorino to the Board of Acquisition & Contract for review and approval on Thursday.
The 59-route Bee-Line network serves approximately 32.4 million customers a year in Westchester, Putnam and New York City.
The new contracts will be for five years, with an option to renew for an additional five years. Under terms of the proposed contracts, Liberty will be paid an amount not to exceed $113,650,295 in 2014. This represents a savings of $3,373,412 over its current contract. PTLA will be paid $2,370,614 in the first year, which is the same as in the current contract.
“This outcome protects our taxpayers and Bee-Line bus riders,” said Astorino. “Our bus system serves about 115,000 weekday riders, and this ensures that service remains dependable at the best possible price for both riders and taxpayers.”
The contracts were awarded through an RFP or “request for proposals” process conducted by the county. Liberty Lines and PTLA were the only two companies to respond to the RFP. The county’s current contracts with the two bus operators expire on Dec. 31.
The new contracts cover two service areas: the 56 routes operated by Liberty Lines and the three routes operated by PTLA in the Peekskill area. Liberty Lines has been the main operator of the county’s buses since the mid 1970s.
The RFP process was complicated by two factors. Liberty Lines had asserted that if its contract with the county was not renewed, it was entitled to millions of dollars in compensation under its previous agreements with the county. At the same time, the federal government told the county that it could possibly lose as much as $13 million in federal aid if it didn’t put the contract out through a competitive procurement process.
Throughout the process, the county worked with state and federal transportation officials to ensure rules and regulations were followed and that the county’s financial interests were protected.
The Bee-Line bus system works this way:
- The county owns the buses, other vehicles and equipment, the Central Maintenance Facility in Yonkers and the Cerrato Satellite Bus Facility in Valhalla.
- The county establishes fares and determines routes. However, the Bee-Line system is part of the MetroCard fare structure. Bee-Line fares typically mirror MetroCard fares set by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to facilitate uniform pricing for the region.
- The county hires private companies, currently Liberty Lines and PTLA, to operate the Bee-Line system and facilities with their own employees.