Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board meeting (Dec. 16, 2010): At their last meeting of the year, the AATA board unanimously approved a contract for janitorial services at the Blake Transit Center, which had been postponed from its November meeting amid concerns about how the new vendor was achieving its considerably lower cost.
Board member Rich Robben had raised concerns regarding whether appropriate wages were being paid, but was convinced to support approval of the contract in part because of another resolution on the agenda. That resolution, which the board also passed unanimously, directed AATA staff to explore the possibility of a living wage provision for its contractors that would be similar to the ordinance used by the city of Ann Arbor.
The board also approved adding an additional return trip for the AATA’s commuter express service between Chelsea and Ann Arbor. The trip will leave Ann Arbor for Chelsea at 7:10 p.m. It was added in part due to feedback from current riders, who would have greater flexibility to work later on days when they take the bus to work. Many of the riders are University of Michigan employees. Robben, who is executive director for plant operations at the university, reported that the value placed on the express service by riders had been “bludgeoned” into him by some of his coworkers. He voted for the additional trip, along with the rest of the board.
The board was also given a presentation on the AATA’s bus stop improvement program, which featured several before-and-after slides. And among the topics reported out by the board’s committees and CEO Michael Ford was the on-time performance of AATA buses.
At the start of the meeting, during the time for communications and announcements, board member David Nacht noted the passing of Rev. S. L. Roberson, whose memorial service was taking place that evening. Nacht described Roberson as a force for equality in Washtenaw County and an important person in the community. Board chair Jesse Bernstein recalled having worked with Roberson in the ’70s at Ford Motor Co., and described him as an excellent person.
Bernstein concluded the meeting by thanking the AATA staff and the board for all their hard work this year, and suggested that next year they’d be asked to work even harder.