Ocean City Today

Transportation Committee briefs

By Greg Ellison | May 17, 2018

(May 18, 2018) The following topics were discussed during the Transportation Committee meeting on Tuesday.

Driver recruitment

Transit Manager Mark Rickards provided an update on bus and tram driver recruitment efforts.

“We still need to hire 17 drivers, but no need to worry [because] we are fully staffed for maximum deployments,” he said. “I’d like to see us with a few more drivers, but we’re looking good [and] the same on the tram side.”

Turning to ridership, Rickards said more than 7,000 people used transit services on May 3, the first day of Springfest, with those figures growing to nearly 12,000 on Friday and peaking on Saturday with more than 17,000 riders.

Councilman Tony DeLuca expressed concerns over potential staff turnover depleting the driver ranks.

Rickards said one final training class is scheduled for June 4

“We did do weekend training for the first time, which benefits school bus drivers,” he said. “We’re getting more … school bus drivers to fill in during the summer.”

TransLoc update


Rickards said the TransLoc bus app has continued to be well received by transit users.

“We’re averaging about 300 hits a day,” he said. “The good news is it continues to go up.”

During the first week of May, Rickards said more than 700 people used the TransLoc app, with more than 4,100 hits.

“We’re able to keep up with all the buses either live or in instant replay [where] I can go back and see where they were,” he said.

Outside of replacing an occasional tablet device, Rickards said the bus locator service has performed admirably, with a few unavoidable exceptions.

“We have had some issues on the south side with paving,” he said. “It’s hard to keep up the schedule there sometimes during the day.”

Wait times, or bus headways, ranged between 12-13 minutes last weekend, Rickards said.

“We were running buses about every 6.5 minutes during Springfest,” he said. “We expect in the summer it will be even lower.”

Coach design

Procurement Manager Catrice Parsons said a pre-bid meeting on May 8 for custom-designed tram trailing units failed to draw potential bidders.

“Which was a little concerning but it’s not unusual,” she said.

Following the apparent snub, Parsons contacted the half dozen vendors who had expressed interest previously.

“All of them but two said they couldn’t provide what we were asking for, or they weren’t interested,” she said.

Still apparently on board to bid the project are Specialty Vehicles from Henderson, Nevada and Trams International from Bell Gardens, California.

Parsons said the next round of bids must be submitted by May 25 and will be opened during the City Council work session on May 29.

Ocean Pines ADA bus service

Based on continuing requests from residents, most recently during the April 16 City Council meeting, Rickards raised the issue of expanding the service area for paratransit buses to assist disabled Ocean City residents with medical appointments in Ocean Pines.

“This has been an increasing request as they’re seeing more doctors and other medical services moving to Ocean Pines from their locations in Berlin,” he said.

Paratransit service acts a safety net for individuals qualified under the American with Disabilities Act, and provides origin-to-destination service for those who have difficulty using fixed-route public transportation.

Rickards said the request would only cover medical-related trips on the Robert H. Melvin Jr. MEDTRN service, which Ocean City operates in conjunction with Shore Transit and are currently limited to the corporate limits of Berlin.

“We’re only talking about medical trips on our medical tram service,” he said. “This area of Ocean Pines for … trips other than medical it would have to be on Shore Transit ADA.”

In practice, Rickards said MEDTRN drivers typically pass close to Ocean Pines.

“When we access the facilities in Berlin, we will utilize Route 90 much of the time because of traffic,” he said. “We also use Racetrack Road and [Route] 113 to get to Berlin.”

Connor said the service is only available to qualified parties.

“It’s only those who are ADA certified that are eligible to use our medical transportation services,” he said.

Connor said the Berlin service was started after residents raised concerns about doctor visits taking up to five hours round-trip from Ocean City on Shore Transit due to numerous transfer points.

“We provide this service to those who live in Ocean City to expedite their travel to and from medical appointments,” he said.

The issue will be sent to the City Council for further discussion.

Turtle bus

To end the meeting, Connor announced the city and the Greene Turtle reached agreement on an advertising wrap for a 60-foot articulating bus.

“We recently obtained an executed contract to wrap the bus,” he said. “The creative copy is still coming [but] the contract is signed.”

DeLuca said the upcoming marketing agreement would be just in time for the third season of Ocean City using elongated buses.

‘That’s the one articulating bus that’s riding around naked,” he said.

Rickards also noted that eight of 11 new buses have arrived and would be in service by Memorial Day Weekend.

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