Three firms respond to city’s transit request for proposals

The city of Bowling Green received responses from three companies in its effort to find a manager of transportation services.

The city this year issued a request for proposals for the management and operation of transit services after a transit study by Pittsburgh-based Michael Baker International. The study, which was unveiled in 2019 by the Bowling Green-Warren County Metropolitan Planning Organization, recommended the city seek assistance for running public transit.

Brent Childers, director of the city’s neighborhood and community services department, said three companies submitted responses by the deadline Wednesday. The companies are not being publicly named as the responses are evaluated. The firms had the option of submitting bids to either manage the system, operate the system or both.

Childers said the three firms provided five options: one opted to bid on only management, and two are proposing to both operate and manage the system.

The city had no track record of what sort of responses to expect, so having five options “is what we were hoping for,” Childers said.

The responses are being evaluated for responsiveness and being rated by Childers, city grants coordinator Nick Cook and a consultant from Michael Baker International. The trio will then make a recommendation to the Bowling Green City Commission on hiring a firm to either manage the system, provide operations or both.

Currently, the city offers an annual contract for transit operations, funded this year by about $1.2 million in federal dollars with a $430,000 match from the city.

Community Action of Southern Kentucky has been the successful bidder to operate GO bg Transit since 2003.

The Community Action contract goes through July 1, so the city is hoping to make a selection as soon as possible.

“We want to have as much overlap and transition time as possible,” Childers said.