Metro may outsource bus service at its newest facility

WASHINGTON — Metro has issued a request for proposals seeking vendors to manage and operate bus service out of its new Cinder Bed facility, currently under construction in Lorton, Virginia.

The Cinder Bed facility is expected to open some time in 2018.

It is part of Metro’s ongoing efforts to trim personnel costs. This year, it has eliminated about 1,000 direct Metro jobs, although many of them have been unfilled positions.

In a statement, Metro said nationally nearly one-third of all transit agencies contract out some — or even all — of their bus service and benefit from cost reductions from competitive wages and overhead and no pension liability for new employees.

“Metro is exploring new ways to do business that save the region money, while continuing to improve the quality and safety of service for our customers,” General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement. “The opening of Cinder Bed Road presents a significant opportunity to competitively contract for new services and is consistent with our ‘Keep Metro Safe, Reliable and Affordable’ plan.”

Metro has already outsourced hundreds of jobs, including contracting out for rail track bed cleaning and contract shuttle bus service supporting capital improvement projects and elevator outages.

When open, nine bus lines will operate out of Cinder Bed Road, or about 5 percent of Metro’s bus service. About 80 buses will operate from, and be maintained at, the facility.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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