DESCRIPTION OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY:
The Government of the District of Columbia, Department of For-Hire Vehicles (“DFHV”), is soliciting applications from eligible DFHV licensed taxicab companies (“Taxicab Companies”) to operate DFHV’s SchoolConnect program, which will provide a shared riding mobility solution to transport children to and from selected schools in the District’s Safe Passages zones in Wards 7 and 8. Eligible entities must have a DFHV taxicab company operating authority. Entities may include partners (e.g. technology companies or support services contractors) in their application that will assist in delivering service. The successful applicant will be expected to provide service every school day (ten months per year) for up to 24 schools. Each school will have a at least one dedicated vehicle that will service a particular route or set of stops that is planned in conjunction with DFHV and participating schools’ leadership. The successful applicant will be able to provide professional services for service design and planning, provide a technology solution that meets the needs of the program and its multiple stakeholders, provide licensed DC taxi drivers to service routes, obtain and provide vehicles for the program, and manage all facets of daily service for the program.
The FY21 announcement of the SchoolConnect Request for Applications (RFA) seeks to implement a cost-effective, high-quality transportation service offering flexible routing and/or flexible scheduling of shuttles for schools located in Safe Passage zones in order to provide a safe transportation alternative for students. The FY21 SchoolConnect announcement is the start up, including planning and acquisition of resources, of this program. This program is expected to launch in the 2021-2022 school year. DFHV is seeking candidates with an expertise in microtransit/on demand mobility program operations, school or youth transportation, and driver and fleet management. The selected applicant, “SchoolConnect provider” or “Grantee,” at the direction of DFHV (“Grantor”) in collaboration with its partners such as District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME), schools’ leadership, and parents, will develop and manage the transportation program.
The selected applicant must be located within the District of Columbia and must comply with Title 31 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations in its entirety with an emphasis on: Chapter 9, Insurance Requirements for Public Vehicles-For-Hire in its entirety including Applications and Scope pertaining to WAV vehicles; Chapter 16, Dispatch Services and District of Columbia Taxicab Industry CO-OP, and Chapter 18, Wheelchair Accessible Paratransit Taxicab Services.
In this pilot project, DFHV is seeking to leverage the capacity of the local for-hire vehicle industry and use innovations and best practices from the on-demand mobility field to provide an innovative school transportation solution. There is no current transportation program for schools in place, and schools and parent are eager for a transportation solution. The service envisioned for this pilot project is a shuttle and driver for each school that will be furnished by the provider. Service will be provided in the morning and afternoon. For each service shift, the shuttle will provide pick-ups from designated points in the community to the school and will perform several runs in each shift to accommodate several loads of students. The SchoolConnect provider will be expected to recruit drivers who are experienced and capable of safe operation of a shuttle vehicle and transportation of students. A monitor will be assigned to each vehicle (not part of the scope of this grant award) who will be responsible for supervision of students. The SchoolConnect provider and its drivers will work collaboratively with the assigned monitors to deliver the service. As the program ramps up, the SchoolConnect provider should also be able to provide and manage a technology solution that allows for tracking of vehicles and students so that information can be relayed in real time to school administrators and parents. In addition, the provider will need to be able to provide services related to service planning and design with inputs such as desired pick up points, scheduling windows for each school and geography of schools to be served.
It is important to realize that the SchoolConnect program for DC is a new initiative. This will be an unprecedented, new service in the District. The successful applicant will need to work cooperatively with DFHV, the drivers, and our education partners including the Deputy Mayor for Education and DCPS, to test its parameters and work towards its success.
The project will require:
· Commitment to the objective of providing effective transportation service to students;
· Flexibility in working out the early “bugs” typical of any new project;
· A cooperative spirit in working with the various organizations and parties involved with the project; and
· The ability to document and report experiences with the project in a way that will help the DFHV and other involved entities learn from the project’s early weeks and months of operation and make any needed adjustments and improvements to ensure success.
The parameters of the SchoolConnect program are described in more detail below; a summary of responsibilities include but are not limited to:
· Project Implementation, Oversight and Management for SchoolConnect
· Service Design and Planning
· Vehicle Acquisition and Fleet Maintenance
· Driver Recruitment
· Service Delivery
· Customer Experience
· Emergency and Safety Procedures and Protocols
· Communication and Coordination
· Data and Reporting