September 07. 2012 11:30AM - Last modified: September 07. 2012 11:31AM

Transit Plus contract leaves 100 jobs in the balance

Milwaukee transportation provider Transit Express may have to lay off 100 employees on October 31 if it is not awarded a Milwaukee County Transit System contract.

Transit Express submitted a WARN mass layoff notice to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development on August 31. The WARN Act requires 60 days notice before a mass layoff.
But Transit Express leaders hope the layoff never comes to pass. The company has had a contract to provide services for the MCTS Transit Plus program for all but one of the last 33 years, said John Doherty, operations manager.
“Our notice was one to comply with federal requirements,” Doherty said. “We would like to believe that we’ll get to continue to get and serve the customers we’ve been serving for 33 years.”
The Transit Plus program provides transportation for “individuals with disabling illness or a condition that prevents them from using MCTS buses.” Transit Express provides about 60 percent of the service, while First Transit provides the other portion.
The current five-year contract ends Oct. 31, and a new one would start Nov. 1. Doherty said four entities submitted proposals to provide services.
“I would have expected the decision would have been made a month ago,” Doherty said. “Traditionally, that has been the case.”
MCTS could not give details about the bid review process while it is in progress.
 “MCTS anticipates that the bid review process should be finalized shortly and we are doing all we can to expedite the process,” said Jackie Janz, chief marketing and communications officer for MCTS. “MCTS must abide by all required regulations regarding any award of service or product. However, we assure our customers that paratransit service will continue to be provided as usual.”
Milwaukee Transport Services manages the procurement process for Milwaukee County Transit System. The County may participate in the technical review process and provide oversight on Disadvantaged Business Enterprise decisions, Janz said.