BC Transit: Another step closer to privatization

By Perry Russom

September 17, 2013 Updated Sep 18, 2013 at 7:10 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Broome County is taking another step to privatize public transportation.

Deputy County Executive Bijoy Datta said Tuesday a request for proposal (RFP) is in the works.

The county would use the RFP to gather interest from private companies to eventually run BC Transit.

Once that RFP is sent out, it's fair game for private companies to start bidding on the transit system.

Datta said the RFP draft has been in the works for the past few months with the paperwork expected to be finished in the next two to four weeks.

Broome County Legislator Dan D. Reynolds said he didn't know of any RFP being created until he was contacted Tuesday evening, but said it could just be used as a bargaining chip against the BC Transit union leaders.

Those union leaders met Tuesday night to spread their message against the potential privatization.

The union's vice president said the people in the county would lose control of their transit system with fewer buses on the streets.

"Look at San Diego, look at Savannah, Ga., Pesacola, Fla., West Palm Beach and look at what happened to those systems when they privatized," said Gary Rauen, BC Transit union vice president. "They're really bringing those systems back in house because they found out that the savings while they generated in the first year's service weren't there in the long run."

Legislators Reynolds and Anthony Fiala attended the union's meeting.

Fiala asked the crowd there to come to the Broome County Legislature meeting this Thursday to voice their opinions.

He said while the privatization isn't on their meeting's agenda, their presence would be felt.

That meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the County Office Building.