Lew May will be staying on board for another year as general manager of Bloomington Transit.
The five-member board expressed relief at the news at their meeting on Tuesday night—May has been contemplating retirement.
Board member Kent McDaniel said, “We’re lucky to have Lew and I’m glad he’s willing to stay for another year.” The board approved May’s contract extension on a unanimous vote.
May gave two reasons he wants to stay on. First, he wants to stay on through the implementation of the planned new routes, originally scheduled for this fall, but delayed due to uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Second he wants to get Bloomington Transit back on its feet after the pandemic. “To me those are two important things that I would not like to just hand off to the next manager,” May said.
Much of Tuesday’s meeting was focused on various issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A maintenance staffer tested positive for COVID-19, the city announced in a press issued last week.
No additional employees have tested positive, according to May. But as a contingency, the board authorized the eventual signing of a contract with Uber. Under that contract, Uber would provide transportation service, if so many drivers test positive that the BT bus fleet can’t be operated.
Amid uncertainty about the number of Indiana University students who’ll be returning to campus and where they’ll live, the board OK’d an addendum to BT’s current contract with IU to get through July and August. That’s an alternative to trying to negotiate the renewal of the contract for the whole year, which would typically be done around now. About 70 percent of BT’s ridership typically comes from IU affiliates.
The board also green-lighted a return to service levels that are close to normal, starting Aug. 24. That’s when the time-and-half hazard pay will end for drivers and front-door boarding will start again. All riders will continue to board fare-free.
Continue reading “Bloomington public buses roll fare-free through COVID-19 towards fall, with Uber as backup plan, same general manager in driver’s seat”