This morning Rochester City Lines announced suspension of transit operations on its privately owned Rochester city transit bus system within the city of Rochester. “We are just not able to compete with the subsidized operations of Rochester Public Transit,” said RCL general manager Dan Holter. RCL was hopeful for a good showing of drivers on Monday but that did not happen. Only a handful of transit drivers reported for work despite the posting of the normal operations schedule.
RCL reported that on June 30 the city made a surprise move when they sent in an auditor and confiscated all remaining stock of tickets, passes and bus schedules. “We were expecting an audit as the normal procedure with the end of a contract period but this turned into interference and a taking of the very operational items that just last week the judge had ruled we were entitled to.
The city encouraged the taking of our pool of employees and operations and then continued the raid on Saturday by seizing the very tools we needed for continued operations on Monday,” Holter added.
Rochester City Lines has repeatedly pointed to the acts by city staff as egregious and an interference with the privately owned transit system. “Under oath in recent depositions, city staff has admitted to falsely reporting ownership of RCL property to the Federal Transit Administration and then referring to the reports as ‘mundane’” said Holter. In January of this year RCL hired former FTA Chief Counsel Steven Diaz to help the City and RCL work through the quandary. Initially City Public Works staff were scheduled to meet with RCL and Diaz but then backed out at the last minute and refused to meet but sent only City Administrator Stevan Kvenvold and City Attorney Terry Adkins to dig in their heels, according to Holter. “We tried to meet and help the city understand the serious mistakes the city had made in response to the FTA and the triennial review. The city balked and we were put in the position we had to bring suit to protect our interests,” added Holter.
RCL has continued to claim that questions of inverse condemnation and the eligibility of the city to receive federal operating assistance are unresolved.
NOTE: ALL LINKS BELOW ARE INACTIVE AS OF July 3, 2012.
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