City of Baltimore Brings Suit Against Charm City Circulator Operator

Baltimore City has filed suit against Transdev North America, Inc., and Transdev Services, Inc. (“Transdev”) for breach of contract.  The lawsuit alleges that Transdev overcharged the City more than 20 million dollars for the operation of the Charm City Circulator, the free shuttle service available to City residents, downtown employees, students, tourists, and anyone who wants to ride. This lawsuit reflects the Mayor’s priority to increase transparency and accountability in government dealings. 

The City determined that instead of invoicing the City for the hours it actually operated the Circulator, as the agreement for the operation of the Circulator required, Transdev invoiced the City for thousands of hours more for passenger transport. Transdev’s overbilling practice resulted in the City overpaying Transdev over $16 million since 2010. The City’s lawsuit seeks compensation for the overpayment.

In October of 2017, City Solicitor Andre M. Davis created a subdivision of the Law Department devoted to affirmative litigation for precisely this type of suit. “When companies violate their contracts with the City and either overbill or underpay, the Law Department will seek damages to make taxpayers whole,” said Solicitor Davis. “Mayor Pugh has been clear that we have many pressing funding needs for essential programs for our youth, to provide job training and job creation, to remedy vacant properties, and to upgrade basic services for City residents. This lawsuit is wholly consistent with our duty to serve as responsible stewards of tax payer funds and hold accountable companies doing business with the City who fail to live up to their contractual obligations.”

The lawsuit was filed this morning in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. The City has asked that its claim for breach of contract be decided by a jury. Transdev is expected to be served with the lawsuit this week.

The Baltimore City Department of Transportation is in the procurement process to select a vendor to provide the Charm City Circulator bus service. The new contract duration will be for 3 years. Following today’s Board of Estimates actions, the negotiations between the city’s Bureau of Procurement and the selected vendor will begin immediately. If the subsequent negotiations are concluded successfully, it is anticipated that  the new contract will be awarded by October 10, 2018.

DOT is committed to the continuity of service and is taking immediate actions to provide bus bridge services while negotiations are completed and service begins with the new vendor. The Department of Transportation will be utilizing local companies to provide the bus bridge service until a permanent vendor is ready to begin full operations. During this time, citizens will not see changes in existing service locations, schedules or hours of operation.  However, citizens should be aware that some of the buses in operation after October 11, 2018 may differ slightly in size and/or design from the original Charm City Circulator fleet.

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