Annapolis County will revisit contract negotiations with Kings Transit, council decided during its regular monthly session on June 19.
When the original contract between Kings Transit and the County of Annapolis expired in 2009, the partners continued to operate on a month-to-month basis. This ended when contract negotiations broke down over the matter of who would have authority to spend funds provided through government transit grants.
The issue arose from a dispute with Kings Transit regarding the use of public transit funds which were provided as a grant from the federal government and based on ridership, the county said June 20 in a media release. Annapolis County council contends that the Kings Transit board did not give the county a say on how the funds collected from county ridership would be allocated.
However, Annapolis County Warden Reg Ritchie said this issue may be resolved.
“Although nothing has been confirmed, and we are still in talks with Kings Transit, it is our understanding the board is willing to include a clause in the contract to ensure the county would be able to direct the use of any future grant funding from other levels of government that is based on ridership in the county,” Ritchie said. “This was essentially the hurdle the two parties could not get past when contract negotiations broke down last year.”
The County of Annapolis and Kings Transit will be in discussions to address the governance matter, as well as reviewing the budget options. The two organizations will be looking at ways to reduce costs such as potential schedule changes and the purchase of new vehicles to save on repair costs, the county said.
“The bottom line is to get the budget at a range the municipality can afford for its residents,” the release said.
The County of Annapolis owns the buses and pays all of the costs associated with the service. The service provider is paid a management fee to manage the service.
The negotiations between the County of Annapolis and Trans County Transportation Service (TCTS) have stalled.
“TCTS is a highly regarded organization that truly excels at the service they provide,” said Ritchie. “However, municipal council’s goal is, and has always been, to ensure quality service for our residents at a cost that is affordable,” said Ritchie.
No final decisions will be made until council has fully discussed the matter in July.