On Monday evening (April 15) the McKinney City Council had a work session and revisited the issue relating to the designation of a Public Transit Provider for the McKinney Urbanized Area (McKinney UZA) which is the responsibility of the City of McKinney. The McKinney UZA includes McKinney, Celina, Frisco, Lowery Crossing, Melissa, Princeton and Prosper. The current provider is CCART and there have been discussions over the last few months about changing the structure of CCART to addresses the concerns of the current operation or potentially identify a new designated transit provider.
After review over the course of the past month a staff presentation was made to Council at the work session. After much discussion the Council directed the City Manager to pursue the development of an interlocal agreement with TAPS for a two-year term and to bring back to Council for further discussion and approval. Council asked questions following the presentation to ensure that they had the ability to terminate the contract and choose another provider if service expectations were not met and that McKinney would have representation on the TAPS Board of Directors.
A copy of the staff powerpoint presentation can be found here.
The County Commissioners who are charged with making the transit provider designation for the County will take up the issue again on Monday, April 22 at 1:30 p.m. at the Collin County Administrative Building.
Commissioner Chris Hill shared the following via email, The County Line, regarding the decision to select a new transit provider for the County:
At the Commissioners Court meeting on March 11, I presented a motion to the court to designate TAPS (Texoma Area Paratransit System) as the Rural Transit District provider for Collin County. I presented my reasoning for the recommendation of TAPS. Here are some of the highlights:
• TAPS is a dedicated transit agency, and not a subcommittee of a larger organization with multiple objectives.
• Although they are structured as a not-for-profit agency, TAPS operates with a business enterprise approach and a fiduciary duty to the public they serve.
• TAPS has performed at a well-documented, high level of excellence for the last five years.
• Representatives of the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) have communicated that TAPS operates an efficient service at a high level of excellence, even stating that TAPS should be included in a list of the top 5 transit providers in the state.
• The TAPS board and management team have turned around a system that was struggling six years ago. This is precisely the experience we need now in Collin County.
• "TAPS also operates a demand‐response transportation service in Grayson, Fannin, Cooke, Montague, Clay, and Wise Counties … In this context, a potential may exist for some form of integration of CCART services into TAPS' operations – something that may be further explored in the study phase for developing alternatives." (Source: Collin County Transit Needs Study, Existing Conditions Assessment [DRAFT], North Central Texas Council of Governments)
At the conclusion of the discussion on March 22, the commissioners court agreed to table the discussion so that the commissioners and the McKinney City Council could study all options further. At the next Commissioners Court meeting on Monday, April 22, I will offer my original motion again.
If the Commissioners Court designates TAPS as the county's rural transit provider, the court will have the ability to name one member to the TAPS board of directors. By virtue of being the county seat, the City of McKinney would also be afforded one member on the TAPS board. Should the McKinney City Council designate TAPS as the Direct Recipient for the urban area, the city would then be granted one additional seat on the TAPS board. These three board members would represent the interests of Collin County.
On Monday, April 22, I intend to offer an additional element to my resolution that will increase our local control over public transit issues. I will request the formation of a Collin County Technical Advisory Committee as a subcommittee to the TAPS board of directors. This new subcommittee, comprising representatives from each Collin County municipality in the TAPS service area(s), will advise the TAPS staff and Collin County's delegates to the TAPS board of directors about local and regional transit issues, and provide another level of accountability and citizen oversight in public transit.