Amendment No. 10 to the Agreement with LSF is required for various reasons and incorporates the changes described below.
1. NEW SERVICE PLAN FOR THE SOUTH BEACH TROLLEY
In an effort to reduce wait times and improve reliability and frequency of the South Beach Trolley service while complying with the City Commission’s most recent directive to keep service to Belle Isle, the Administration has developed a new service plan for the South Beach Trolley in collaboration with the affected communities. The proposed service plan is based on historical performance and consists of:
- reassigning the two trolley vehicles from Via 11 Street Loop to Loops A and B (i.e. eliminating service along 11 Street and improving service along Loops A and B)
- serving the Belle Isle stop with only Loop B to “right-size” service frequency to Belle Isle
Combined, these changes will improve average headways for the same number of vehicles in operation with no fiscal impact. Attachment B depicts new route alignment.
Transportation and Mobility Department staff met with the Belle Isle Residents Association and Belle Isle Public Transportation Alliance representatives on multiple occasions to develop and refine a service plan that improves service efficiency while meeting the community’s expectations. Additionally, the proposed plan was presented to the following groups:
- Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association on December 2, 2019 – no action taken
- South of Fifth Neighborhood Association on December 6, 2019 – in favor of proposed changes
- Transportation, Parking, and Bicycle-Pedestrian Facilities Committee on December 16, 2019 – passed a motion supporting the proposed changes (Attachment C)
It is important to note that while the new service plan will eliminate trolley service along 11 Street, it will benefit the Flamingo Park neighborhood by improving service frequency along its perimeter, with multiple stops currently located on Alton Road and Washington Avenue within a short walking distance.
2. TRUE-UP AND CONTRACT TERM EXTENSION
Although the Miami Beach Trolley service has been suspended since March 27, 2020, LSF has requested financial assistance from the City for various monthly fixed costs incurred in association with protection of the program assets (33 trolley vehicles) during this suspension period. City staff has had multiple discussions with LSF regarding its outstanding fixed costs and, through negotiations, staff was able to reduce LSF’s initial request from $182,709.59/month to $167,095.00/month. LSF claims that its accrued fixed costs from March 27 to July 31, 2020 are over $700,000, and LSF has provided back-up documentation to substantiate most of these costs. During negotiations, LSF proffered extending the term of the current Agreement in lieu of a lump sum payment by the City to recover the fixed costs incurred during this suspension period.
The recently executed Amendment No. 9 approved the temporary use of City trolley vehicles by Miami-Dade County to supplement Miami-Dade Transit bus service primarily in Miami Beach during suspension of the City’s trolley service. The County’s use of the City’s trolleys operated by LSF commenced on July 31, 2020, and, since that date, LSF’s fixed costs are being covered through the County’s scheduled service hours. Thus, the City will not incur any additional debt beyond the estimated $700,000 provided LSF operates more than the minimum number of trolley service hours stipulated in Amendment No. 9. If LSF operates more trolley service hours than during normal (pre-COVID) service, per Amendment No. 9, the surplus hours will be used by the City to offset the $700,000 owed to LSF for fixed costs incurred during the trolley suspension period.
Amendment No. 10 stipulates that a reconciliation (true-up of debits and credits) will occur within 90 days prior to November 21, 2021 (the earliest expiration date of a trolley loop in the current Agreement). The purpose of the true-up exercise is to determine the amount, if any, that the City owes to LSF for fixed costs incurred from the date that City trolley service was suspended (March 27, 2020) up to the true-up date, while taking into consideration all service hours operated by the County via LSF using the City’s trolley vehicles. If on the true-up date, the City finds that there is an outstanding balance owed to LSF, the Administration will extend the Agreement at that time to allow LSF sufficient time to recover its fixed costs incurred during the suspension period and enable for all four (4) trolley routes to end on the same date (the current Agreement expires in a staggered manner with each trolley route ending on a different date). In order for LSF to recover its estimated $700,000 of fixed costs incurred during the trolley service suspension period, City staff anticipates that the resulting term extension will be for a period of up to four (4) months for each month of trolley service suspension.
At this time, the Administration is seeking approval from the City Commission to waive the competitive bidding requirement and extend the Agreement with LSF as appropriate at the time of true-up, as being in the best interest of the City. If the proposed term extension to the Agreement is not approved by the City Commission, the City will be required to make a lump sum payment of over $700,000 to LSF for fixed costs accrued in association with protection of program assets during the trolley service suspension period, more specifically from March 27, 2020 (the date that trolley service was suspended) to July 31, 2020 (the date that Miami-Dade Transit commenced operating City trolley vehicles via LSF as part of its bus service in Miami Beach and LSF’s accrual of fixed costs stopped).
Furthermore, the proposed coterminous extension of all trolley loops will enable the City to procure a new single contract for citywide transit service in the future as opposed to procuring each route separately, thus enabling for greater economies of scale and a more competitive procurement.
3. REPLACEMENT VEHICLES (INCLUDING RETROFITTING)
The Agreement requires that all trolley vehicles in the City’s fleet be 2016 models or newer. The proposed Amendment No. 10 to the Agreement will approve the replacement of a trolley vehicle which was lost due to fire, by a used 2008 high-floor trolley vehicle purchased by LSF at no cost to the City. LSF will be responsible for the purchase and installation of the same TSO Mobile optional equipment that is installed in the City’s current trolley fleet (e.g. tv monitors, video surveillance system, automatic passenger counters, automated voice information systems, Wi-Fi services, and real time GPS tracking services) as well as any other cost associated with vehicle preparation in order to meet contract requirements.
It is important to note that Amendments Nos. 7 and 8 approved the addition of a used 2013 and a used 2006 trolley vehicles, respectively, at no cost to the City, with goal of increasing the number of spare trolley vehicles in the City’s fleet and improving service reliability.
Additionally, Amendment No. 10 will authorize the City Manager to approve the purchase of additional or replacement vehicles in the future (even if older than 2016 model year), including the purchase of related optional equipment under the Agreement; provided that the acquisition does not result in an increase to the annual operating cost of the City’s trolley service, which is currently capped at $12,000,000. This provision will enable LSF to acquire used trolley vehicles, if needed and at the City’s discretion, to ensure fleet availability and service reliability.
4. VEHICLE REASSIGNMENT AMONG CITY TROLLEY ROUTES
As a result of the financial impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration is proposing that trolley service resume operation at a reduced service level, with the goal of ramping up to pre-pandemic levels. Amendment No. 10 authorizes the City to reassign trolley vehicles among trolley routes and adjust headways (frequency of service) accordingly. The reductions in service hours and frequency, combined with reduced capacity due to social distancing guidelines on-board the trolley vehicles, are expected to result in passengers not being able to board the trolley (missed trips) and longer passenger wait times. To compensate for the capacity reduction, staff will monitor passenger demand among all routes and reassign trolley vehicles as needed to minimize missed trips and balance demand and supply.
5. OTHER MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS OF THE AGREEMENT TO ADDRESS NEW OPERATING CONDITIONS OF THE TROLLEY SERVICES
Amendment No. 10 clarifies employee background check requirements of personnel providing services under the Agreement and requires that LSF prepare and implement a Safety Plan and Security Plan that meets the requirements of FDOT Rule 14-90, to be reviewed and approved by the City.
Furthermore, the amendment allows the City to assess the performance of the trolley service (once it resumes) based on the anticipated reduction of service levels and other external factors affecting service performance that are outside of LSF’s control (e.g. active construction projects and/or delays associated with vehicle interior cleaning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic).