MDTA splits bid package for toll facilities
Equipment, customer service to be separate contracts
— Maryland Transportation Authority is changing the way it seeks bids for the management of its toll facilities in hopes of improving customer service, an agency spokeswoman said Tuesday.
MDTA has split its bid package for the Hatem and Tydings bridges as well as six other toll facilities the agency operates, separating the equipment bid from one for customer service. The requests for proposals were issued Monday.
Kelly Melham, MDTA deputy director of communications, said the current contract with Xerox is set to expire in March 2018. Under that agreement, Xerox operates both the technology and
customer service sides.
“By splitting them, it opens up the opportunity for the customer ser- vice side,” Melham said Tuesday, adding there is the possibility that one company could win both bids.
MDTA Deputy Executive Director Deb Sharpless said in a statement that the agency is looking for companies that will put customers first and deliver “superior services.”
“Reliability, collaboration and flexibility will drive this transformation and will allow us to meet the evolving needs of our customers, adapt to changing technologies and positively impact Maryland’s economy,” she said. Melham said the ultimate goal is the best package for customers now and in the future.
“We want the vendor ... that can handle existing tolls and whatever comes down the pike,” she said, adding that also includes the Inter County Connector and the Interstate 95 Express. “We actually will be replacing everything.”
According to Melham, MDTA sought the opinion of industries in the field before building the bids.
“We heard from over a dozen firms that gave us input,” she said.
The technology contract would mean a wholesale change of the current tolling system, which includes E-ZPass. Melham said this project would have no effect on the various tolling programs including the Hatem-only commuter program, in which motorists purchase a transponder specific to the Route 40 bridge over the Susquehanna River.
Cecil County representatives to the Maryland General Assembly were successful in getting the Hatem-only plan when MDTA eliminated the toll decal system that had been in use at the Route 40 plaza for nearly 40 years. Commuters traveling from Cecil to Harford County can purchase the Hatem-only E-ZPass for $20 per year.
Perryville’s mayor and commissioners are campaigning for those drivers to be able to use the same transponder to cross the Tydings Bridge during rush hours to avoid the traffic at Route 222 and Route 40, and when there is an emergency on the Hatem Bridge. Drivers of two-axle vehicles pay $8 cash to cross the Tydings Bridge on I-95.
A toll taker at the Hatem Bridge on Route 40 in Perryville takes the $8 charge from a driver. Maryland Transportation Authority has begun the process of bidding for the toll facilities, splitting the technology and customer service elements into two separate bids.