Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bid specs pass

The proposed bid specs were passed by Finance and Operations this evening as proposed. A few points in the discussion:
  • This is being proposed as a single contract for full-sized and special education buses, which is a change. Due to market forces, administration anticipates that this will be more cost effective. What is being split off as a separate contract (to be bid after this one) is bussing for field trips and athletics. There are more vendors who can handle the size of that business.
  • Per Mr. Foley's request, administration is going to explore how much it would cost (additionally) to allow parental access (by password) to the real-time GPS on buses being proposed as part of the specs. If it isn't a significant cost, we might consider it. Any additional technology deemed necessary by administration will be allowed under the terms of the contract, but it will be installed at WPS expense.
  • Changes to this proposal include AC in the special education buses (which transport students through the summer months), block heaters or some other means of making sure the diesel engines will start even on cold mornings, drop-down tire chains on all buses (WPS currently has them on the buses we own and operate), and the aforementioned GPS tracking.
  • The plan, should these specs be approved on Thursday by the full committee, is for this to go out to bid next week, for there to be a pre-bid meeting in mid-January, and for the bid opening date to be January 28, 2015.
  • I did ask about alternative energy possibilities for buses, as they're just the sort of vehicle that can do that, as it always goes back to the bus yard. Plus Quebec recently put their first electric bus on the road. The answer is that Mr. Hennessey is following this, and so far, any of those vehicles are at least two times as expensive as a diesel one, so trying to put that into a contract like this would be VERY cost-prohibitive (and maybe just prohibitive, as nobody has a fleet like that yet). The prices have to come down first. 
More to come on Thursday! 

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