Elk Grove to partner with SacRT for buses and vans after years with private contractor

Elk Grove is entering into a contract with Sacramento Regional Transit after years of working with a private contractor for its public transportation needs.

The Elk Grove City Council approved a new five-year contract with RT worth $36 million in March, according to an RT news release. RT will be providing e-tran bus services and e-van paratransit for Elk Grove starting July 1, according to the release.

Dallas-based MV Transportation has been providing public transportation services for Elk Grove since 2005, but its agreement with the city expires at the end of the month. The company secured its last five-year contract with the city in July 2014.

All routes, schedules and fares will remain unchanged by the transition, according to Elk Grove.

“We fully understand the importance of the e-tran commuter bus service that connects Elk Grove residents to their jobs downtown, and we will continue this service as well as making improvements to current services,” RT General Manager and CEO Henry Li said in a prepared statement.

Michael Costa, transit manager for the city of Elk Grove, said authority over transit operations will remain with the city under the contract – though if at some point city services are annexed by RT, that would change.

Elk Grove will enter annexation negotiations by the end of June 2020 if RT’s performance exceeds that of MV, according to the release.

Costa said Elk Grove has had some issues with MV transportation in the past due to driver shortages – a widespread issue common to private contractors partially driven by low wages.

Service from RT, which often offers better wages and benefits to drivers than private contractors, will likely be more timely, Costa said.

Additionally, since RT already works throughout the greater Sacramento area, Costa said it will be easier to manage regional traffic incidents and scheduling issues.

By working with a major regional partner like RT, Elk Grove may also be more competitive in receiving federal and state funding, Costa said.

MV Transportation will be laying off 108 Elk Grove employees effective June 30, according to California Employment Development Department records.

The company will be terminating 78 drivers, four managers and two supervisors, among others, according to EDD records.

RT spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez said 60 MV drivers affected by the layoffs will be hired as RT drivers, and 26 other MV employees will be hired by RT in areas such as maintenance, supervision and mechanics.

RT will have about 80 bus drivers total working in Elk Grove, which is more than the number servicing the city with MV, Gonzalez said.

Public transportation services in Citrus Heights and Folsom were recently annexed by RT, according to the release.

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Vincent Moleski covers business and breaking news for The Bee and is a graduate student in literature at Sacramento State. He was born and raised in Sacramento and previously wrote for the university’s student newspaper, the State Hornet.