Cost was the deciding factor as a Perrysburg City Council committee voted 2-1 Thursday to recommend hiring a Missouri company to ultimately replace TARTA should city voters pass a necessary levy.
"The price matters," said Councilman J. Todd Grayson as the committee selected Ride Right of Lake St. Louis from a pool of four finalists.
Ride Right bid $530,936 to operate Perrysburg's proposed transit system in the first year, about $12,000 cheaper than the next highest bid. The top bid was $705,155 from Dallas-based MV Transportation.
The committee will bring the recommendation to the full city council at a meeting Tuesday.
Councilman Timothy McCarthy said picking the company with the lowest price could be crucial to winning enough support at the ballot box to set up Perrysburg's independent system.
The city placed a 1.45-mill, five-year levy on the Nov. 6 ballot after Perrysburg voters' March decision to withdraw from the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority in March.
"They're going to say, 'You want to pass a millage and support a levy, and you took a provider than was much higher than the others?' " Mr. McCarthy said.
But Councilman John Kevern argued the city's allegiance should be with a local company: Toledo-based Black & White Transportation, which provides local transit services in Bowling Green.
"It's a local company that's done well," said Mr. Kevern, the lone councilman who voted against Ride Right.
The committee reached the 2-1 vote after three hours of deliberations and interviews with all four transit operators in council chambers.
If the council approves the selection Tuesday and voters approve the transit levy on Election Day, Ride Right would hire locally the eight drivers and the full-time equivalent of 1 1/2 dispatchers to run the service, said Pat McNiff, the company's vice president of operations.
Mr. McNiff said the company is scouting out three or four locations to set up dispatching and vehicle storage in Perrysburg. The service would require three 15-seat passenger vans that could each carry two wheelchairs, he said.
As for the hours of operation and passenger fares, Mr. McNiff said Ride Right would work with the city to establish those details.