Increased weekend paratransit service means more cost to SEPTA

Though no contract to build a new smart card fare collection system was announced at Thursday’s SEPTA Board committee meeting, the board’s operations committee did deal with the fallout of increased paratransit service in Chester County.

The operations committee reviewed an amendment to a contract with Rover Community Transportation, which provides paratransit service for SEPTA in Chester County, that would increase SEPTA’s payments by up to $870,000. The four-year contract, which began in 2008, would total about $4.7 million if the amendment is approved by the board at its meeting next week.

The increase stems from improved weekend paratransit service in the county, according to SEPTA officials.

SEPTA has taken over paratransit dispatching duties from its contractors, allowing it to provide more expensive weekend travel to disabled riders. The contract increase is meant to capture the cost of the extra weekend trips Rover is projected to provide over the life of the contract.

The administration committee reviewed three  three-year contracts for federal lobbying aimed at securing SEPTA more federal funding for operations and capital projects. The winners are: Duane Morris Government Affairs, with a $384, 000 contract; American Continental Group/Gray and Oscar LLC, for $288,000; and Vadnor Strategies and Whitman and Worrall, for $252,000.

SEPTA had received 13 bids for the contracts, and incumbent Blank Rome LLP lost its bid.

The big SEPTA contracting news of the month — the announcement of a smart card vendor — may come next week, in time for the scheduled monthly board meeting.

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