MV Transportation Inc. (No. 10 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $430.5 million in sales) will lay off 178 employees by March 1 in Montgomery County, Maryland, as a contract to provide bus service for the county comes to an end.
“The reason for the layoffs is due to Montgomery County’s decision to take the service in-house and operate it on their own,” says Nikki Frenney, a spokeswoman for the Fairfield, California-based company. The move comes as no surprise, Frenney says. “We were well aware of the county’s plan to do this when we took over the contract a year ago.” Employees also knew the layoffs would be coming, Frenney says.
Under the terms of the contract, MV Transportation operated about one-third of the county’s buses, according to Esther Bowring, a county spokeswoman. She adds that the decision to bring the management of the entire Ride On bus transit system in-house has nothing to do with MV Transportation’s performance in managing the contract. “This was done on a contract basis for many years and last year the county decided after looking at the pros and cons and costs to bring the service in-house, Bowring says.
Montgomery County’s decision to take full control of its public transportation system is not unusual, says Julie Cunningham, president and CEO of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials. “In many cases local governments already have control of their public transportation systems,” she adds.
Since the county will still be operating the buses and maintaining the same routes that MV Transportation managed, laid-off employees are being encouraged to apply for employment with the county, Bowring says. “We’re significantly expanding in order to accommodate this. We’re still operating the buses; we’re still operating the route. It’s just a matter of bringing it all in-house so that 100% of our operation can be run.”
Despite the loss of the Montgomery County contract, MV Transportation continues to grow, winning a $33 million, five-year contract in December to operate transportation services in Chicago.