Private contractor, First Transit, put on notice by Phoenix officials
KJZZ reports that First Transit, a private contractor responsible for operating approximately 30 percent of Phoenix’s public bus services, has been put on notice by the city for failing to live up to their contractual obligations. An initial letter of concern was issued by city officials in March, followed by a formal Notice to Cure sent by the city’s director of public transit, Maria Hyatt in June. The letter cited two main contract violations including missed service and on-time performance, stating that the contractor’s poor services had “negatively impacted the City’s and the region’s passengers.”
Of the city’s 12 main lines, serving approximately 1.1 million people, 8 of 12 lines failed to meet on-time performance standards as dictated by their contract. One passenger, Holly Zortman, who relies on public transit to get to and from work on a daily basis, told KJZZ, that on one occasion she was forced to wait an hour to an hour and a half for a late bus.
In response to the Notice to Cure, First Transit responded, citing issues with staffing qualified drivers and maintenance workers, as well as recent expansions in the area’s bus services. According to their contract with First Transit, allowing them to withhold payment based on violations, the city of Phoenix has withheld over $80,000 in payments to the company since the start of the year.
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