A five-year bus service contract awarded by Phoenix City Council on March 20 will have a minimal increase to Phoenix’s public transit budget.

After a highly competitive process, First Transit, a transit management company, was selected to manage the $131.6 million agreement, which is about 1 percent above the current contract cost. First Transit has managed the current contract since 2007.

Management of Phoenix’ two bus service contracts, which include cost for personnel and bus maintenance, is a public/private partnership between the Public Transit Department and its contracted vendors. The city manages other transit-related contracts for fuel and bus purchases.

First Transit’s new contract covers 13 of Phoenix’s bus routes with a 146-bus fleet that annually runs 4.7 million revenue miles.

Those routes carry about 12.8 million passenger boardings within Phoenix and the neighboring communities of Avondale, Glendale, Goodyear, Peoria and Scottsdale.

In all, Phoenix operates 46 of the Valley Metro bus routes carrying 68 percent of bus passengers in the region.

The new contract term is from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2018.

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