Newest Prisoner Transportation Bus For Sheriff’s Office To Cost County $603,000

(October 21)  The board of supervisors this week approved a no-bid contract with an Illinois-based company for the purchase of a bus for the sheriff’s department to use to transport prisoners, including forays between detention facilities and back and forth from jail to court.
While modern busses used for passenger transport in the United States typically cost from $300,000 to $400,000, the bus San Bernardino County taxpayers are buying for the sheriff’s department will run more than $600,000.
A report dated October 21, 2014 ostensibly from sheriff John McMahon to the board of supervisors that was actually written by sheriff’s captain Shannon Dicus states “The sheriff’s department is requesting a non-competitive procurement with Motor Coach Industries in order to maintain a standardized fleet of jail buses. The department strives to replace inmate security transportation buses when they reach the one million mile mark. The department has worked to standardize its fleet of jail transportation buses and has found that Motor Coach Industries is a reasonably priced bus that meets its specifications required for reliable short and long distance prisoner transportation needs. The last purchase of inmate transportation buses was previously approved by the board of supervisors on November 27, 2012
The advantages of having a standardized fleet from Motor coach Industries include providing the drivers a more predictable operating environment with familiar controls and handling capabilities, which in turn increase safety while the buses are in operation. In addition to the capability of the Motor Coach Industries buses to carry twice as many people compared to other manufacturers, the department also saves time and money on the maintenance as mechanics and motor pool personnel can more predictably assess common maintenance issues without additional training, and take advantage of interchangeable parts and equipment. Motor coach Industries buses are also currently being used by San Diego County, Riverside County, Orange County, Los Angeles County, and the California Department of Corrections.  Security and reliability are the department’s highest priorities for bus design and the Motor Coach Industries bus has been specifically designed according to the department’s requirements and specifications. Motor Coach Industries jail transportation bus design features, maintenance record, reasonable price, and long life have made it a consistent replacement choice. Purchasing concurs with the non-competitive justification as the functionality of the bus provides a predictable operating environment with familiar controls and handling capabilities. The department is continually kept up to date on other manufacturers’ products and will competitively solicit when safety and other specifications can be met.”
Dicus told the Sentinel that the busses contain a number of features that are not available on typical busses. “It has a bathroom, which is necessary for prison runs to the northern part of the state,” Dicus said. “The busses have automatic transmissions, which fits with our effort to standardized them. The floor plan features internal security which allows us to separate high security inmates from other inmates. It has individual areas that can be secured.”
In compliance with the sheriff’s department recommendation, the board of supervisors authorized the county’s purchasing agent to issue a purchase order to Motor Coach Industries for one D4000 inmate security transportation bus in the amount of $603,058.59.

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