The Tri-Board school Bus Operators Association protested today in Madoc and Belleville against the RFP system.
The RFP System puts bus companies out for tender, and the lowest bidder would operate the school busses. Laurie Evans, Operator with R&L business here in Bancroft, says RFP system could put his bus company out of business. In the original system, called benchmark contracting, the bus companies would negotiate directly with the school board using a third party, who would set the market price of bus services for the board in question. However, under the RFP system, those contracts would be up to the lowest bidder. If a larger company were to put in a lower bid, Evan’s business of 30 years would be gone in an instant.
The Operator’s Association would like the provincial government to suspend the system. They are calling on Education Minister Stephan Leece to save local jobs and to maintain a reliable bus system. Sherry Barker who organized the protest says it will put both small and larger bus companies out of business. She says the process makes it hard for operators to be successful. She wants the province to also look at alternative bargaining methods.