Two global transit companies, Transdev Services Inc. and First Transit, are cutting a total of 426 jobs in the Seattle area effective the end of October as part of what federal filings indicate are permanent layoffs.
Transdev will be laying off 340 people at its Kent location starting on Oct. 31, while First Transit is closing its Seattle location and cutting 86 jobs effective Oct. 25, according to notices the companies filed with the state of Washington under the federal WARN Act.
The two companies provide contract services for King County Metro’s federally mandated Access program, which provides transportation services to the disabled and elderly. The other Access contractor is Solid Ground, a Seattle social services organization that also provides transportation services.
Earlier this summer, King County Metro selected a new contractor for the Access program, Dallas-based MV Transportation, awarding the company a $424 million five-year contract that takes effect in November, according to media reports. MV Transportation will provide bus drivers and run the dispatch center through which trips are scheduled.
Transdev had operated the bulk of the Access program’s buses, while Solid Ground operated the balance of the vehicles. First Transit provided dispatch services. Solid Ground, according to a Seattle Times report, will continue providing transit services as a subcontractor for MV Transportation.
"Unfortunately, we are no longer the contractor operating the Seattle paratransit [Access] contract as of Oct. 31, 2019," says Mitun Seguin, spokesperson for Transdev North. "Typically in these situations, most employees transfer over to become employees of the new contractor."
First Transit did not reply to a request for comment.
The WARN Act requires employers with 100 or more workers to notify workers 60 days prior to any closure or layoffs. Companies also must provide written notice to the Washington Employment Security Department and the top elected official in the community where the layoff or closure is occurring.