WARREN - The board that manages Trumbull County's public transportation system has given itself until the end of this year to decide whether it's going to stay with the provider it has now or sign a new one.
Until then, the Trumbull County Transit Board has decided to let Community Bus Services of Youngs-town continue to provide the rides, which buys the board about three months to chose between CBS and new bidder, Garwin Inc. of Hubbard.
This round of proposals is the first time since the Niles-Trumbull Transit System was created in 2003 that there has been competition for the contract.
''This gives them time, they don't have to rush anything,'' said Mark Hess, Niles Engineering, Grants and Development coordinator, who's acting as a technical adviser for the board.
The new contract would be a one-year agreement with the option to extend in one-year increments up to five years, which is the same format of previous agreements. The old contract with CBS expired Sept. 15.
According to the proposals:
l CBS is offering per vehicle revenue hour costs of $57.75 for 2014; $59.48 for 2015; $61.27 for 2016; $63.10 for 2017; and $65 for 2018.
l Garwin is proposing per vehicle revenue hour costs of $42.14 for 2014; $43.82 for 2015; $45.58 for 2016; $47.40 for 2017; and $59.30 for 2018.
The board this year has 33,560 revenue hours. Extending those hours to just next year, it would cost the board $1.9 million to go with CBS and $1.4 million with Garwin.
Hess and board members Mike Sava, Earl Brown and Lee Seiple have been assigned to evaluate the proposals for CBS and Garwin. In addition to the cost, the committee will be looking at experience, capability, vehicle fleet, service and maintenance histories and if the provider meets Federal Transit Administration standards.