OSBA Talks with Hon. Colin Campbell and Competitive Procurement Review Team
OSBA Board members were very pleased to have an opportunity to speak with the Hon. Colin Campbell, Paul Emanuelli and Leo Gotlieb in a 90 minute conference call on Fri. Feb. 6, 2015 which covered a number of important competitive procurement topics and included specific examples from current RFP documents.
OSBA emphasized the importance of a fair, open and transparent competitive procurement process to ensure the continued safety of transporting children and the viability of the school bus industry. OSBA also underscored that 100% of the revenue received by bus operator contractors is from the contractual arrangements with school board/transportation consortia via the funding received from the Ministry of Education.
OSBA highlighted that sustainability of the industry is directly connected to its front line employees – having qualified, professional school bus drivers who are paid a fair and appropriate hourly wage. This fair wage cannot be accomplished if RFP’s are not recognizing actual operational costs of school bussing.
OSBA also emphasized the importance of full funding flow-through from school boards to Consortia to contractors noting that an update to the 2007 Deloitte Cost Benchmark Study should be completed in the very near future to ensure that the GSN (Grant for Student Needs) is in line with contractor costs which are increasing on average at approximately 2.5% per year.
The Review Team requested additional detailed information from OSBA including specific references from the STSYR (York), OSTA (Ottawa) and TSTG (Toronto) RFP’s that may clarify various challenges. OSBA also noted best practices in other jurisdictions and will forward examples of same to the Review Team.
The Review Team also made a commitment to OSBA for an in-person meeting to further discuss and elaborate on the OSBA submission paper submitted earlier.
Other important topics noted by OSBA to the Review Team included:
- Appropriate vehicle age parameters.
- Development of a standardized template and funding model that fairly represents costs and sustainability of the industry.
- Loop km’s versus live km’s and the implications for routing, operating costs, and environmental stewardship.
- Inclusion of the Ministry of Education provincial fuel escalator.
- Development of criteria for when and where an RFP, RFQ, RFT, RFI, or other procurement approaches are appropriate for competitive procurement.
- Challenges and solutions regarding route bundling.
- Standardized contract language that fairly compensates for days when service is cancelled due to weather and labour interruptions.
- Longer contract and extension terms that fairly compensate for life cycle of vehicles.
- Scoring/weighting of a contractor’s technical capability relative to financial scoring/weighting.
- Roles/responsibilities of a Fairness Advisor (to be more than only ruling on compliance to the RFP).
- The need for Consortia to consult operators in advance of designing and evaluating procurement processes and responses.
- The benefits of staggered distribution of RFP’s (i.e. not every Consortium to procure in the same year) and that procurement be conducted earlier in the school year prior to the first year of the new contract.
- Robust pre-award verification of a proponent’s capabilities by Consortia.
- Valuation of driver compensation as a critical component of service delivery and passenger safety.
- Need to allow proponents to formulate their own financial bid response and the risks imposed by GSN type limits.
Member comments and thoughts are always welcome. Please contact email@example.com , 705.229.6835 (Les Cross).