MIDDLETOWN AREA TRANSIT

Summary of the Client

Middletown Area Transit (MAT) is a quasi-municipal agency funded by the Federal Transportation Administration, the Connecticut Department of Transportation, and the City of Middletown, CT. MAT provides fixed route, ADA dial-a-ride, and rural transportation serving the towns of Middletown, Middlefield, East Hampton, Portland, Durham, and parts of Cromwell and Meriden. MAT provides direct service to Amtrak and the Westfield Shopping Mall in Meriden.

MAT’s services transport 400,000 passengers a year with its fleet of 20 vehicles, and has an annual operating budget of over $2.7 million.

The Challenge

As of July 2017, MAT was over its operating budget by nearly $400,000, and its bank was on the verge of recalling its line of credit. As a result, MAT was scheduled to cease operations within 30 days. MAT and the City of Middletown voted to transfer emergency management to First Transit effective immediately. MAT’s financial position needed extensive improvement, including balancing the operating budget and rectifying its credit situation, and numerous negative FTA findings needed corrected.

The Solution

First Transit’s new MAT General Manager and regional support teams leveraged their budgeting and capital planning expertise to develop a new and balanced operating budget without any additional federal, state, or local funding. They achieved this by, among other things:

  • Adjusting staffing levels
  • Changing procurement processes, including taking advantage of First Transit’s Corporate Purchasing Agreements
  • Providing significant support during union renegotiations
  • Recertifying over 400 ADA clients to properly identify dial-a-ride clients for funding

In addition, our General Manager completed the FY16 audit that was left over from the previous management contractor, reclassified, and cleaned up the FY17 books so that the FY17 audit would run smoothly.

Measurable Results

During the first year under First Transit’s management, MAT was able to pay back more than half of its credit line. The note that was in jeopardy just months before was reopened without any substantial penalty to the system.
During negotiations with Teamsters Local 671, First Transit signed a two-and-a-half-year deal that saved MAT over $15,000, retained all union staff, created two extra board positions, and cut overtime by 10%.

 

Within five months of MAT’s 2017 FTA Triennial Review, our First Transit General Manager closed all ten of the negative FTA findings.

Due to First Transit’s leadership and MAT’s impressive fiscal turnaround, four other towns have expressed an interest in joining the board and becoming member towns serviced by MAT. In the summer of 2018, First Transit successfully renewed this contract for an additional three years.