The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Bus service proposals higher than FRED costs
By CATHY DYSON
Two agencies responded to King George County’s inquiry about providing public transportation—and both gave estimates almost twice as high as what the county was paying for FRED.
“We found out that FRED wasn’t as bad as we thought,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Cedell Brooks Jr.
Buses from the FREDericksburg Regional Transit system had been running in King George since 2005, but the service ends today. June 29
After discussing the cost for the last three years, supervisors decided to end the partnership.
The county initially paid $180,000 for two bus routes, then dropped one and negotiated with FRED to get 12 hours of service, five days a week, for $100,000.
King George officials had hoped to have another option in place for people who rely on public transportation, but finding any kind of affordable solution looks unlikely.
The county issued a request for information and got responses from Virginia Regional Transit in Purcellville and MV Transportation in Dallas. Both based their estimates on 60 hours of service a week.
VRT’s bid was $196,560.
MV’s was $183,600 to $198,900.
Both expected the county to subsidize the service.
Riders would pay between 50 cents and a $1 per trip.
FRED charges 75 cents per trip.
King George Supervisor Joe Grzeika said the county isn’t interested in switching to another system similar to FRED. The county was satisfied with FRED’s service, just not the cost, he said.
Supervisors agreed to send out another request. This time, they’ll ask companies to pass more of the fare along to riders and require less county subsidy.
King George also may look into some sort of in-house system, in which it would employ people to drive a bus or van. Preliminary estimates suggested it would cost $103,000 to buy two vehicles and between $100,000 and $125,000 to operate the system.
The county would be responsible for whatever operational costs were not covered by fares.
In other matters Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors:
Approved $174,000 to replace an eight-year old ambulance.
Transferred $150,000 to schools to cover unanticipated costs for the 2011–12 year.
Agreed to make the final payment to Southwood Builders of Ashland, which built the new Sheriff’s Office in the Government Complex.
The project was finished June 1, said County Administrator Travis Quesenberry. It’s been plagued by delays and was supposed to be substantially completed on Aug. 1, 2011.
Quesenberry wouldn’t say if the county will impose a $500-a-day late fee, as specified in the contract. That will be determined when the final settlement is reached within a few weeks, he said.
Gave AT&T permission to use a portion of Wayside Park as a staging area for its project to install a fiber-optics pipe under the Potomac River. AT&T will pay the county $1,000 a month for up to two months.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425