New transit operator

MTR Western is now operating the Corvallis Transit System, which includes Philomath Connection services.

CORVALLIS — The Corvallis Transit System, which includes the Philomath Connection service, is operating under new management. But other than different uniforms and a new location for the agency’s lost and found, riders shouldn’t notice much of a difference.

Starting July 1 Seattle-based MTR Western has taken over as the contractor for the fareless service, winning the bid in a three-way competition involving the previous contractor, First Student, and MV Transportation of Dallas, Texas.

The total dollar amount was not set in the contract, said Mary Steckel, director of Public Works. Instead, the contract is based on an hourly cost per service. Steckel estimated that the MTR Western bid will result in a cost to the city of $1.8 million per year, with First Student at an estimated $2.1 million and MV Transportation at approximately $2.5 million.

Steckel said that the city always puts the contract out to bid, with a point system determining the winner.

The drivers and buses will remain the same, Steckel said. “What is changing is the management of the operations. Every company does things a little differently, has a different philosophy or approach which distinguishes a company from their peers."

MTR Western’s management staff of six employees will be based at the Public Works Department as will the 15 system buses, the holiday trolley and two Philomath Connection coaches. The buses previously had been lodged at First Student.

First Student continues to operate the bus system for the Corvallis School District. 

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