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MTA bus radio low bidder protests awarding of pact

An MTA bus passes Park Row in lower

An MTA bus passes Park Row in lower Manhattan on Feb. 24, 2016. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

The low bidder on a $202 million contract for a new MTA bus radio system has filed a formal protest against the agency, seeking to block the award of the contract to the winning bidder.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board approved the contract with the Parsons Transportation Groups on Feb. 24 without discussion and despite a bid by Motorola Solutions that was $35 million lower.

“Motorola Solutions has formally protested the MTA’s award, as our bid would save the authority $35 million,” the company said in a statement this week.

‘‘We look forward to a fair hearing about the numerous issues we have raised about the process ...” the statement said. “Improving transit safety through reliable and proven communications technology is a priority, and these issues must be resolved so MTA employees, riders and New York taxpayers can be assured of the safety and efficiency of their transit system communications.

An MTA spokesman declined to comment on the protest, which could take weeks to process.

Parsons was picked to install the TETRA system, which combines dispatching and radio capability. Though widely used in Europe, TETRA has relatively few users in this country.

The contract runs 58 months and has three renewal options of five years each to provide maintenance and support services. Those options are not included in the $202 million cost.

An analysis by MTA staff said the current radio system was installed 25 years ago and was “technologically obsolete.”

The contract calls for retrofitting 6,250 existing buses and support vehicles with new mobile radios, providing 1,250 portable radios and the communications infrastructure to support the system.

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