Biggest problem for public bussing? Maintenance. - News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Biggest problem for public bussing? Maintenance.

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The most recent problem facing the public bus system appears to be a failure of maintenance.  In an oversight hearing by the Transportation committee Wednesday, GRTA officials confirmed that most of their fleet is down for repairs, but there's no contract in place to fix them.

The hearing began with impassioned testimony from GRTA riders who described how much they rely on the public bus system for life-enhancing or even life-saving transportation. But they also vented their frustrations with just getting regular, reliable rides.  The hearing then shifted to GRTA management.  The authority has a fleet of 12 minivans and 11 buses. 

But as operations supervisor Mark Crisostomo explained, of those 23 vehicles, 19 are down for minor and major repairs, saying, "There's 12 buses on the road in services. GRTA has 3 operational buses of those 12, 9 are provided by the contractor."

The contractor Kloppenburg enterprises is not required to provide vehicles, just the drivers and dispatch service.  So it costs GRTA an additional 22 dollars an hour to use the KEI buses.  GRTA does not currently have an unscheduled maintenance contract for the buses. GRTA has been trying  to get approval for a 100-thousand dollar repair and maintenance procurement order. 

Administrative officer Myra Soriano explained, saying, "We keyed in that requisition in May but due to some procurement challenges it has not been entertained that fast."

She says GSA has since recommended a change in procurement method. Chairman Aguon recessed the hearing, recommending GRTA meet with DPW for help to get some of the buses back on the road right away. "This would also provide you with additional time to continue your conversation with DPW. And ensure that if some of these buses and minivans are in need of minor repair then DPW may be able step in provide that direct service," the senator said.

The hearing will continue next Wednesday.

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