We are pleased to inform everyone that our latest procurement for Paratransit vehicles, RFP 20-01 (Z2) has been completed. This phase of our electric vehicle solicitation has made awards to three dealers representing five cutaway bus configurations: ABC Bus Sales for Coach & Equipment/UES and Optimal, Davey Coach Sales for Turtle Top Motiv and Optimal and CoachWest for Endera electric cutaways.
Realizing that this is new technology with different players and a whole new industry with different players, we want to share with you that in this procurement, extraordinary efforts were made and no expense was spared to conduct evaluations and due diligence during the awards process. Among the measures taken were:
• Financial Review. Normally, only the proposing dealer’s financials are reviewed. In this case, we went to the extra effort of having our CPA firm, Miers & Miers confirm the bus builder and the bus electrifier if separate entities have the ability to perform for this contract.
• Purchasers Requirements/Quality Control. Again, rather than conducting an audit only of the bus builder’s plant, (standard procedure) Basin Transit and our consultants inspected the electric modifier company’s production facility and even the battery production facility proposed to us.
• Buy America. A comprehensive Buy America content review was conducted in accordance with 49 CFR, Part 661. We not only confirmed Buy America Final Assembly occurred at the bus builder, but that it is the case at the electric modifier and that the electric battery supplier as well assembles the battery packs domestically.
• Altoona Testing. We made all the proposers confirm to us and provide documentation from FTA that they are in the process of testing their buses at the Pennsylvania State University testing facility. In addition to and in advance of Altoona testing, MBTA engaged Fleet Maintenance Specialists (FMS) to conduct representative vehicle testing, configuration and quality control review and range testing for the awarded vehicles.
• Due diligence was conducted during the review process to ensure all certifications were made and that requirements for Federal Motor Vehicle Standards (FMVSS) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) have been met under the prevailing standards of the regulations.
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• We ensured that the proposing firms and their manufacturer partners are checked off against the federal government’s debarred parties list (Sam.gov) to ensure responsible parties participated in the procurement.
The above are just a few examples of the extra care and unprecedented measures we have taken during this process to ensure all requirements are met and responsible parties are issued contracts. As a side note, the electric van procurement has been released and bid activities are ongoing. We expect awards sometime this Spring for this final phase of our small bus procurement.
Deploying our electric bus fleets represent an exciting but challenging endeavor. There will be bumps along the way, and we will have our work cut out for us to meet our state’s mandates for electrification that face us. We are confident however, that we have done our best given the technological and commercial challenges and can all work together towards a cleaner future for transit.
Please contact Joe Meer at joe@Basin-Transit.com or Dan Mundy at Dan@Calact.org if you have any questions.