Major changes are in the pipeline in the way the Department of Public Transportation draft schedules by moving the system in-house, as opposed to paying a consultant on an ongoing basis – to the tune of millions.
And if the Minister had his way that change would right away – more like yesterday – but that apparently is not how it works.
Responding to questions fielded by Bermuda Real, Minister of Tourism and Transport, Zane DeSilva, confirmed that on top of the $1.7 million paid to a Canadian consultant over 17 years, the DPT still pays him an annual software license and service fee, for bus schedules we still don’t have.
That fee is “for the TMS scheduling and Daily Operations module, renewed annually at a cost of approximately $6,700”.
“In addition, we engage the scheduling services of Schedule Masters on an as-needed basis,” said Mr DeSilva.
“The rate varies from $110/hr to $185/hr dependent on the nature of the work and skill-set required.”
Asked why the DPT cannot produce bus schedules in-house, the Minister said: “DPT do not have any active consulting tasks or open commitments with Schedule Masters at this time.”
As for the ongoing need for the consultant, he said: “They are currently our preferred vendor and may be engaged in the future as needed.”
But the Minister was quick to note that the DPT “is assessing the scheduling tools and vendors available, with a view to developing a dedicated in-house scheduling team”.
“At this time DPT does not employ fully qualified schedulers and as such training and/or recruitment will be required. Even then, there may be cause to contract the occasional services of a scheduling contractor on a project basis.
“The total amounts paid to Schedule Masters was made public earlier this year and published in news articles available online.”
On the recent switch back to the old bus schedule the Minister added: “The 2018 bus schedule is providing a higher frequency of service and greater capacity than the 2019 schedule.
“All reports to date indicate that the Clock Tower turnaround is effective in improving traffic flow in Dockyard and reducing congestion on the Dockyard to Hamilton trips.”
And on that note he said: “ WEDCO is best positioned to speak to the Dockyard component, but for DPT and the traveling public it is working well.”