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Published: 8/17/2013 - Updated: 8 months ago

TPS to share space at TARTA garage

Shorter routes to reduce costs

BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo Public Schools plans to share space at the TARTA garage on Central Avenue in a bid to reduce the school district’s transportation costs.

The TPS bus fleet is based out of its Hill Avenue garage, which means buses must drive from West Toledo to other sides of the city before they start their routes. Under the planned partnership, buses for the Scott and Woodward learning communities will instead be based at the Central Avenue location, reducing those wasted — or “deadhead” — miles, thus saving fuel costs.

“This will allow us to operate much more efficiently,” TPS Superintendent Romules Durant said.

The partnership was announced Friday at a news conference at the TARTA garage.

The district plans to keep 24 buses at the TARTA location. The fleet will cover 20 routes, with four buses on reserve.

District officials are not yet sure how much the partnership will save, and plan to analyze the new arrangement over this school year. Mr. Durant estimated cost savings of between $20,000 and $100,000 annually, but that depends on the number of deadhead miles reduced and the price of fuel.

Placement of buses closer to their routes should also increase on-time arrivals.

Talks about the collaboration between TARTA and TPS were mentioned in a recent performance audit of the school district and was an area of commendation. The audit however said TPS does not currently monitor deadhead miles; the analysis of the new partnership should help calculate those wasted drive times.

The audit also suggests TPS reduce the number of bus routes it runs and shed some of its bus inventory. Mr. Durant said the district is analyzing those recommendations.

TARTA will charge TPS $50 a month for each bus stored at its facility, because federal regulations require the transit authority to charge for rental space, general manager James Gee said.

The Toledo Board of Education will be presented with a contract detailing the agreement at its Tuesday meeting, Mr. Durant said.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.



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