VALPARAISO | The city has chosen a consultant to do a route study of the V-Line intracity bus service at a cost that could be almost $100,000.
Proposals from four companies were opened at the July 25 meeting of the city's Board of Public Works and Safety. After interviews by a special city committee, RLS & Associates Inc. of Dayton, Ohio, was selected at a base price of $68,501, city Planning Director Tyler Kent said.
The city also can choose other options that would involve doing rider surveys the city needs to file with the National Transit Data Base. The cost of the additional work would be $29,900, Kent said.
The timeline for the route study is still to be negotiated, but Kent said the rider survey could take up to a year.
"They must physically survey where people get on and off and the average miles people ride a day," he said. "It has to be done for every week in the year, but it could be different hours during the day or different days during the week."
The city has a federal grant through the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission to pay for 80 percent of the cost. The route study portion of the consultant's work should be completed by the end of the year and will tell the city what it is doing right as well as what changes are needed to increase ridership.
Kent said he received the proposed contract from RLS Wednesday and hopes to review it and get the details worked out in time to make a recommendation to the board of works at next Thursday's meeting.
The V-Line is finishing its sixth year of service and has experienced steady growth from its inception in October 2007. Total ridership in 2012 topped 100,000 for the first time.