Winter Park awards transit contract

The town of Winter Park awarded the contract for public transportation services to First Transit during a town council meeting last week. First Transit will primarily oversee operations regarding The Lift public transit system, a free shuttle running routes through Fraser, Winter Park and Winter Park Resort.

Winter Park was considering two transit companies, First Transit and McDonald Transit, but selected First Transit on the recommendation of the Transit Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC’s recommendation was primarily focused on costs, and First Transit was able to save a considerable amount as the town’s existing contractor.

“The Town Council is excited to continue the relationship with First Transit as the town works toward improving and expanding The Lift,” said Drew Nelson, Winter Park town manager.

The town posted a request for proposals for contracted public transportation services in April, and received only two bids.

The bidders were asked to submit a “total amount proposed” estimate for the next three years, with two option years, for a total of five. McDonald Transit submitted a proposal amount of about $12.5 million, and First Transit submitted an amount of $10.3 million.

“Being conscious of our operating costs will always be important; however, it is particularly important at this time in the age of our system,” wrote Michael Koch, transit manager, in a town memorandum summarizing the proposals sent to the Winter Park Town Council and Transit Advisory Committee.

“As The Lift system is still in its infancy, the Town does not own a complete fleet of vehicles, and an appropriate facility to maintain all aspects of our vehicles does not currently exist, it is Town staff’s recommendation to award the contract to First Transit,” wrote Koch.

The new contract with First Transit will begin in August and will continue through the end of June 2020. At that point the town will evaluate First Transit’s performance and decide whether or not to pick up their options for 2020-2022.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.