County residents using the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) began using a new vendor as of Dec. 1, although company officials say they may not realize it.
According to Lisa Chislett, PART’s program manager for Marketing and Communications, the move is the result of a bankruptcy at the transportation provider’s former contracted company, Coach America.
And the move to the new provider is designed to keep things running smoothly for riders.
“They went bankrupt and were bought out by another transportation company, but they were going to significantly raise their hourly price,” Chislett said.
As a result, PART issued a request for proposals from different companies.
“We looked at the costs associated with bringing the service in-house, but found that the company National Express was comparable to the in-house price and we don’t have to buy a bunch of equipment and take on the service ourselves,” Chislett said.
Prior to making the decision, PART compared proposals from three different companies.
“National Express had the most comprehensive proposal, with pricing comparable to an in-house operation,” she said.
So this past Saturday, National Express became the service contract provider for all PART Express routes, a regional bus system connecting cities and counties throughout the Piedmont Triad.
“PART Express provides regional transportation service with 11 routes covering nine counties in the Piedmont Triad,” Chislett said.
She noted that riders should see no difference in the service.
“Nothing will change,” Chislett said. “We’re going to have the same current schedules and fares will stay the same.
“It should be completely transparent, but it will be a new company providing the service, so we just wanted to get the information out there,” she added.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.