Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ISO 9001/14001 RFP, a year late but good information.

Been away from this for a while, but when I got back in I discovered this tidbit.  It's an RFP looking for companies who certify ISO 9001 and 14001 compliance for other companies.  Had no real idea you could pick and choose a company to certify you for those, make the matter of impartiality come into question, doesn't it?


URL opens a PDF document.

Just in case it disappears, here's the text of the document.

RFP UT-11-035JL

ISO 9001 and ISO 14001

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is requesting proposals any time prior to the hour of 2:00 p.m. MDT on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 from accredited certification bodies/registrars with expertise in Municipal Government Services/Transportation to provide services for UTA's ISO 9001 and 14001 re-certification and surveillance audits.

Requests for proposal documents or any related questions should be directed to Utah Transit Authority, Attention: Janalee Hansen, Grants and Contracts Administrator, by email at jhansen@rideuta.com or by U.S Mail at 3600 South 700 West, Salt Lake City, Utah 84119.
The certification body/registrar selected will be required to comply with all applicable Federal and State laws, regulations and certifications, and equal employment opportunity laws and regulations.  The Utah Transit Authority, in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and 49 CFR Part 26 will afford Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) full opportunity to respond and will not discriminate against any interested firm or person on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, or national origin in the review of qualifications or contract award.

Issuance of this RFP does not commit UTA to award any contract, to pay any costs incurred in preparation of a proposal, or to procure or contract for services or supplies.  UTA reserves the right to waive any irregularities and informalities or to reject any or all proposals submitted, to re-advertise and to make contract awards in the best interest of UTA.

Utah Transit Authority
3600 South 700 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84119

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Required Hearings Not Held Prior to Fuel Surcharge Fare Increase (August 2010)

The Utah Transit Authority, by law, and being a Government agency funded by State and Federal dollars, as well as sales taxes, and other governmental assistance, is required to hold public hearings prior to enacting any fare increase, or series of increases, even if a previous increase was rescinded.

In 2008, hearings were held prior to the last fuel surcharge increase, and the increase has since been rescinded. That means it is now required for UTA to hold hearings prior to any future fuel surcharge increase series.

A series is defined as any sequence of fare increases that is proposed at once, and enacted over a period of months or years, and this is done primarily for strategic planning purposes, however, if an increase is later rescinded after being enacted, that resets everything.

In very late June of this year, 2010, it was announced there would have to be another fuel surcharge due to diesel rising above $3 a gallon, and UTA claims it lost $1 million on fuel costs (so what became of that $2 million travel slush fund? They should have used that for this.

Therefore, it is required that before UTA collects one fare next Sunday, they must either hold a well-publicized series of hearings, or hold back on the increase until they do. While I personally understand the needs for a fare increase, the agency's honesty and integrity are at stake here.

And furthermore, documentation rules and public access laws require hearings. The documentation rules are set by ISO 9001, and that has not been followed yet due to the lack of public hearings in all divisions, not just the board meeting in the Meadowbrook offices.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

TVM problems, particularly TRAX and MAX.

This one is about a problem that is germane to the transit industry and practically par for the course for all agencies that use TVMs for fare collection.

TRAX: There has been an apparently persistent problem at the Sandy Expo Station of the TVMs at both ends of the platform not taking fares inserted by riders, in particular we know for sure that at times the machines will not take any dollar bills. August 28th and 29th were two instances, and in talking about the next item we found that there was an additional report of trouble at the same platform since.

MAX: At 56th West on 35th South, just east of the intersection is a MAX station with a TVM. Got on one on 11 September and observed that he had to have everyone pay their fare upon boarding. What may have happened, is that the TVM had already been confirmed to malfunction, and so the driver needed to take fares. 15 people including myself got on. This problem obviously resulted in lost time for everyone taking the trip further down on the 35M Eastbound.

Again, these appear to be general but not too frequent problems, any agency will have these, due to the moving parts within the TVM to take the change or bills inserted and to print your ticket, so these things are bound to happen. Just be ready to pay fare on MAX, and to go to the other end of the platform on TRAX, although in the case of 94th South (Sandy Expo) the rider I saw who had the problem ended up not being able to pay fare until he caught the 811 at Sandy Civic Center.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is the ATWU becoming a problem?

Is the ATWU becoming a problem while they are engaging more co-operatively with management?

That is the question after UTA cut a stop that has been used by a route in Utah County for 24 years, although it has been renumbered since 2000.

The route in question is currently known as 833, and was originally route 5 when UTA first started serving Utah County. The stop in question is on University Parkway, just below the Carterville Road overpass going east/southbound. (this road was originally called the 'BYU Diagonal' due to its NW/SE orientation to this point). This affects 833's headed for the YMount Terrace/NE BYU/MTC/Provo Temple area.

The stop has been in continuous service for that route since it was first designated as such in 1985. Now the ATWU local members claim that it is 'a problem' for them, and somehow persuaded UTA management to discontinue it for Route 833. If nothing else, traffic has actually grown in the area in terms of riders, due to many more businesses there now than in 1985, and the riders most seriously impacted will be the disabled and anyone with a load of groceries, etc., from the albertsons that is just out of view because of the business pad just behind the stop.

UTA claims that there are still two newer routes that service the area, 832 and 830. True, there's more frequent service, but the people that are left out are those needing to go quickly to Edgemont and the areas northeast of BYU that I mentioned earlier. Why should they have to lug groceries clear around through BYU then get off and cross another busy street to get on a second bus that comes less frequently (the same 833) to do their shopping? Doesn't this run counter to best practices for designing bus transit systems and bus stop locations? It may actually result in less riders in the end, instead of more.

They are going to monitor this, calls politely requesting the reinstatement of the 833 stopping there are needed, explaining the situation. I didn't mention the intersection either, but a look at the intersection of University Parkway/550 West/2230 North in Provo (also search for 'Albertsons') on Google Maps satellite abd street view will confirm the serious safety issues at hand for shoppers desiring to use 833 from this area.

Normally the ATWU serves a useful purpose for its members, but its actions of late involving holidays and now badly needed bus stops too, and maybe even in cases other larger things, have become a serious threat to UTA's ever getting to the point in its development that it wants to b e, it will only take much longer if at all to reach stated company goals in regards to ridership even with gas price spikes, economic difficulties, etc., they need to all learn the customer comes first.

And even if this is not ISO 9001-related after all, it still knocks the wind out of ISO 9001's image.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The union 'Let's work less, get paid more, the heck with the rider'

This comes as a result of what Michael Bloomberg told the unions that are in New York this morning, and it's going to end up quite damning to UTA's chapter of the Amalgamated Transit Workers' Union.

'Your job is to come in here and get paid more and work less' (paraphrase of Michael Bloomberg's comment).

Basically, they are now asking for certain days that are not true holidays although one is designated as such but is not generally taken except for certain government workers, such as the post office, etc. That one is Presidents Day. Most UTA riders will be dead in the water that day as a result of the arrogance of both the ATWU and UTA when they drew up the contract.

The other big one that is flagrantly worse is the July 3rd day off. Not only are they taking that off, but the 4th as well. Now the 4th of July is definitely legitimate, but for some riders the combination of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th means no bus service for three whole days!

This is a serious ISO 9001 noncompliance issue, and a breach of the public trust by both UTA and the ATWU. It may violate antidiscrimination laws as they pertain to certain minorities that require the use of public transit more than other groups, and the disabled who largely relyon UTA to get around.

The 3rd is not a legal holiday, so not even holiday pay can be paid to them for that day, in fact, they cannot be paid for that day at all. The 4th is OK however.

UTA must now respond, and retract both the February 16th holiday day off and the July 3rd, 2009 holiday day off. That to ensure they remain ISO 9001-compliant in the eyes of major segments of the ridership and others in the community that are associated with UTA in one way or another.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

BREAKING: Fare incident may result in Utah State legislative, regulatory oversight.

Due to an incident involving the 802 that leaves Downtown Salt Lake at 310pm yesterday, I've begun talks with State leaders to get more regulatory and other governmental oversight of the Utah Transit Authority.

The incident involved finding out that the disabled are now being asked to pay double what they did only a few months ago what they would otherwise be paying today had UTA not sneaked in a fare increase over and above the fuel surcharges and other regularly scheduled base fare increases.

I'll detail the issue in a later post, with more information on the incident that started it all as sescribed above, but for now the fact that a standard practice that UTA had followed for over 23 years at least, and that many relied on for a better quality of life, has been discarded without publci input and without more fully involving those affected in the decision.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When TRAX engineers try too hard to keep a schedule...

Crap happens.

Today I witnessed a huge whopper, one that involved a speeding train, even through the construction, and the first time in nine years of operation for TRAX that I've seen a TRAX engineer overshoot the disabled boarding platform. And not just once, but twice.

I've heard of it happening before but considered some stories to be embellished, but never witnessed anything like this personally, here are the details on what I personally witnessed.

I boarded a train that would leave Sandy Civic Center Station at 1123am. All seemed well, and there were no other connection protection issues, so the train left right on time. He got to 9400 South, let a disabled rider using a wheelchair off, then went on to the next station.

I thought he was approaching 90th South, Historic Sandy, a little fast, given the braking he had to do, and he overshot the disabled platform there. Fortunabely this was not a serious issue, no one needed to board or get off on that platform.

He went on from there, and hit the construction zone where the northbound train has to use the southbound track due to bridge work, which by the way is nearing completion as rail has been laid on the reconstructed northbound track bridge. He ran that somewhat faster than I normally experience trains taking that segment during this time, it was almost normal speed for any other train, and he had been running a little fast out of Historic Sandy before that.

No other incidents until later, two disabled riders using wheelchairs got on at the Murray Central Station (IHC Hospital), and all went well.

The next station was where this all hit the fan.

He overshot the platform at Murray North (45th South). But this time was where it all came back to haunt him. The two disabled riders had to get off and at first he didn't realize they needed to get off. One of them said out loud 'Oh s---, we're going to be late!', and the driver seemed a bit perturbed, once he realized he had to get the train backed up all of about five or six feet.

There were other drivers talking over the fence, so they all witnessed this as well.

They got the train backed up, and the two disabled riders got off.

And we left the station. The engineer left with the train. as a much more subdued driver as well. No more speeding by him the rest of the trip.

Got to 13th South (Ballpark), got off. Looked at the clock as he left. 1150am, the schedule said he was due at 1147am under normal circumstances. So the drive to be absolutely perfect got him nowhere, and made a mess out of UTA's public image as an ISO 9001.2000 compliant company.

Goes to show that ISO 9001.2000 is not all its cracked up to be, especially when people try to be absolutely perfect about keeping a posted bus or train schedule. Drives home my point about some of the other recent incidents as well that I've mentioned involving TRAX.

Later on, a University line driver almost left some people ON his train, as there were so many needing to get off at Gallivan Station that the doors closed before they could all get off. This was on an older 'San Jose' car, one that had come from that city's light rail system whne they upgraded a couple years back.