MDTA splits bid pack­age for toll fa­cil­i­ties

Equip­ment, cus­tomer ser­vice to be sep­a­rate con­tracts

Cecil Whig - - BUSINESS - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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

BAL­TI­MORE

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

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.

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