Two more steps toward a combined Platteville taxi and shuttle service were taken last week.
The Platteville Common Council Jan. 13 unanimously approved a contract with Russ Stratton Buses to run the shuttle service beginning May 16, after the end of the UW–Platteville spring semester.
The council also approved an intergovernmental agreement with UW–Platteville over operation of the shuttle service and funding responsibilities for each on a 3–2 vote, after an attempt to table the issue failed.
District 3 Ald. Barb Daus stipulated that UW–Platteville continue to provide tracking software to measure bus ridership.
At-large Ald. Mike Denn and District 4 Ald. Ken Kilian voted against the UWP agreement. At-large Ald. Dick Bonin was absent, and at-large Ald. Amy Seeboth-Wilson abstained on both votes.
The vote to table lost 3–2, with Denn and Kilian voting in favor.
“There’s nothing in this contract whatsoever that talks about cost of ridership per fare, per individual, how it’s to be handled, how it’s to be collected,” said Denn during the bus contract discussion. “There’s no information about tracking. … We need that information. I don’t want to see that added later. … I just have a real problem with not everything being completed.”
“I’m confident that if we have had success with the taxi contract for years and years and years, and this [Request for Proposal] basically mirrors the taxi contract in terms of its requirements … if those two mirror each other and we have been satisfied with the way the taxi has operated … there’s no reason for concern,” said Daus.
The city will contribute $40,839 and UWP $75,000 this year, with the city funding 21.4 percent and the university 78.6 percent in future years.
Stratton’s bid of $41.55 per hour was less than the budgeted $45 per hour, saving the city about $5,900 based on 4,080 hours of service. The price is set through the end of 2016, with options to extend the contract through the end of 2019.
The agreement includes deadlines of Feb. 28 for naming the new system and setting bus fares, March 31 for determining bus routes, May 1 for printing public relations materials, and May 7 for installing new bus stop signs.
A committee consisting of equal numbers of city and UWP representatives will make operational recommendations, but the council will have “final local authority over decisions,” according to city documents.
“The university is paying more in administrative costs,” said Director of Public Works Howard Crofoot. “I don’t believe that it would necessarily be fair to ask them to pay more … for the operational portion of the bus.”
City resident Rich Christenson was critical of the agreement, and the roles of at-large Seeboth-Wilson, Crofoot and UW–Platteville in creating the agreement (see related story).
The taxi portion of the service changed from the previous operator, Top Hat, Inc., to Running, Inc., effective Jan. 1 after Top Hat didn’t bid on the contract. Taxi service hours are Sunday through Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m.