City OKs JATRAN Operations Contract | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

City OKs JATRAN Operations Contract

Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps says JATRAN should expand services to neighboring communities.

Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps says JATRAN should expand services to neighboring communities. Photo by Imani Khayyam.

The City of Jackson has approved an operations contract for JATRAN, the city's transit authority. The City received bids from three companies to operate JATRAN—Lombard, Ill.-based Transdev; Austin-based 1st Transit; and U.K.-based National Express Transit Services.

A committee that included JATRAN riders recommended the city go with the offer from National Express for approximately $4.5 million, officials said today. John Andoh, the city's transportation planning and transit services manager, said the move would save the city $2 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

Andoh said the city's legal department is considering a request for proposals for advertising on JATRAN buses, benches and shelters.

Currently, the city has a management contract; under that agreement, the city would pay for any cost overruns. With an operations agreement, which does not include purchasing new equipment, National Express would absorb any overruns.

The move passed unanimously. Ward 6 Councilman Tyrone Hendrix applauded the negotiations process for including JATRAN and disabled riders in the talks.

Scott Crawford, a JATRAN and disability-rights advocate, told the council that people need food, water, shelter and transportation.

"I can't be productive unless I have a ride," Crawford said.

City officials hoped the savings would also help reignite talks about expanding bus services. Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes said he would like to see the buses operate on Sundays to help people get to church.

Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps said the service should expand to the suburbs. Andoh said the city's legal department is considering a request for proposals for advertising on JATRAN buses, benches and shelters.

"A lot of brothers and sisters that live in Edwards and Utica would love to get to Jackson," Stamps said.

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