Atlantic City Expressway outsources toll collection to Faneuil
By Peter Samuel
The South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) board formally decided today to privatize manual toll collection services on the Atlantic City Expressway voting to accept a bid from Faneuil Inc of Hampton VA. At the board's monthly meeting the outsourcing resolution was passed unanimously.
Faneuil and three others responded to an August 29/30 RFP for toll services September 15.
The resolution reads:
"Faneuil, Inc., of Hampton, Virginia, was determined to have submitted the best proposal to the Authority. Faneuil, Inc. proposes to provide first-class, expert, professional Toll Services to the Authority on the Expressway as well as provide innovation and creativity to maximize the customer experience creating a relationship that will be strategic, collaborative and long-term.
"The Authority has resolved to retain the services of Faneuil, Inc. and determined it to be in the best interests of the Authority to enter into an agreement with Faneuil, Inc. to provide such services."
Spokesman for the SJTA Sharon Gordon says the contract will save the authority $1.03m a year compared to its own staff toll collection.
The Atlantic City Expressway presently employs seven toll collection supervisors and nine full-time toll collectors, and has several dozen part-time toll collectors on call.
No full-time collectors have been hired for four years and the authority has run down staff by attrition.
Gordon said the existing full-time toll collection staff will either be moved to other positions, retired, or given the right-of-first refusal by Faneuil in the contract service.
The Expressway which links the Philadelphia metro area to the Jersey shore at Atlantic City has two mainline toll plazas and ten ramp plazas (counting one per direction). The mainline toll plazas now both have 2x2 open road toll lanes through the middle and nine cash lanes split to each side (5 EB, 4WB).
Pleasantville's ORT lanes go back to 2004, while the Egg Harbor ORT or express lanes were opened just six months ago.
Manual toll collection on the AC Expressway will disappear as the SJTA has determined to make a transition to all-electronic tolling (AET). Design of AET is underway, but there is no schedule for its introduction.
TTI kept as toll system consultant
In a separate action today at the monthly board meeting Traffic Technologies Inc (TTI) of New Windsor NY was kept on for another year - a one-year optional extension in a 2008 contract - as the authority's electronic toll systems consultant.
IC38 2 W-facing ramp plazas
MP19 Egg Harbor main line toll plaza 9 cash lanes, 4 ORT lanes
IC17 NJ50 2 E-facing ramp plazas
IC12 US40/322/NJ583 2 W-facing ramp plazas, 7 lanes
IC5 US9 2 W-facing ramp plazas
MP3 Pleasantville mainline plaza 9 cash lanes, 4 ORT lanes
Traffic down sharply since 2008 - about 22% off
Traffic has declined sharply on the AC Expressway since 2008 when it was 67.66m vehicles (toll transactions.)
It dropped almost 14% to 58.43m vehicles in 2009. That was attributable in part to a hefty 50% toll increase (average tolls went from 94c to 141c), in part to the financial crisis and economic recession that reduced visits to the beaches and resorts of the Shore, serviced by the AC Expressway.
With toll rates stable 2010 saw a 6% drop in traffic on 2009 to 54.98m vehicles.
Based on the first nine months traffic is down another 4.4% this year on 2010 so the total this year is heading for 52.6m, down about 22% on the 2008 high.
Toll revenues peaked at $82.2m and declined to $78.9m last year. They should be in the range $75m to $76m this year.
BACKGROUND: the 44 mile AC Expressway opened in stages in July 1964 and in 1965.
November 1998 E-ZPass electronic toll collection began.
A short but complex urban Brigantine Connector Extension opened in July 2001.
In 2004 open road tolling was instituted at the Pleasntville mainline toll plaza.
August 2007 studies began of all-electronic tolling.
The Expressway is odd in that much of it (IC7 to IC31) has three lanes eastbound and only 2 lanes westbound.
3rd laning WB began September 2009 and was opened for ten miles from the Garden State Parkway through the Egg Harbor toll plaza this 2011 summer, but further extensions northward are not scheduled
SJTA also operates the Atlantic City airport and parking garages.
Chief executive is Bart Mueller.
FOLLOWUP: we were curious about the value of the toll collection contract, the names and prices of other bidders, and how this fits into previously announced plans by the SJTA to move to all-electronic tolling.
An SJTA official tells us they don't plan to reveal or discuss such matters further at this time.
Decisions of state agencies like SJTA are subject to a veto by the Governor for 15 days after they are made. That apparently makes them sensitive, although we don't see any reason why Gov Christie would veto any of these decisions - editor.
TOLLROADSnews 2011-11-15 FOLLOWUP NOTE: 2011-11-16