City Council Report


City Council Meeting: September 24, 2013

Agenda Item: 3-F 

To:               Mayor and City Council 

From:           Edward F. King, Director of Transit Services

Subject:        Mutual Assistance for Public Transit in Emergency Situations



Recommended Action


Staff recommends that the City Council authorize the City Manager to enter into a reciprocal agreement for mutual assistance for public transportation services known as the California Transit Mutual Assistance Compact (TransMAC).


Executive Summary


TransMAC is an emergency mutual assistance agreement for public transit providers modeled on the same type of mutual aid agreement used by law enforcement, fire and utilities.  The Agreement is designed to create a formal relationship among public transit providers in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties to provide support to each other during a response to and recovery from an emergency. The TransMAC establishes the framework for activation, withdrawal, member responsibilities, reimbursement, documentation, legal and liability issues yet allows members to negotiate terms appropriate to the situation. The TransMAC may eventually expand to include transit agencies throughout the State.  The TransMAC does not require any member to deplete its own resources to furnish mutual assistance.



In 2010, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Orange County Transportation Authority, California Emergency Management Agency and the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department met with a small group of transit providers in the region, including Big Blue Bus, to discuss opportunities for a mutual assistance arrangement among transit providers. In October 2011, this group hosted a Transit Agencies Mutual Aid/Assistance Program to introduce the concept to transit providers, police, sheriff, fire and other emergency providers from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.  The attendees recognized the benefits to the transit sector. Based on the high level of interest in developing a program, the attendees determined to move the project forward and formed a Steering Committee to pursue the development of a TransMAC.  


Big Blue Bus has participated in the development of the TransMAC since 2011.  As part of the regional development process, Big Blue Bus sought guidance and input from the City Attorney’s Office, Risk Management and the Office of Emergency Management and forwarded information to the Steering Committee for consideration in developing the final Agreement. 



TransMAC and its members have established a formal process to receive and provide mutual assistance to each other in the form of personnel, services, and equipment as deemed necessary or advisable in an emergency. The California Transit Mutual Assistance Agreement (attached), sets forth the terms and conditions under which members agree to provide or receive mutual assistance.


Participating in TransMAC would enable Big Blue Bus to better respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters while fulfilling its obligation to provide essential transit services or assist fellow transit providers. The Agreement facilitates rapid, short-term deployment of emergency support (personnel, equipment, materials and related services) prior to, during and/or after an incident or pre-planned major event.  The Agreement establishes the framework for activation, withdrawal, responsibilities, reimbursement, documentation, legal and liability issues yet provides members the flexibility to negotiate terms appropriate to the situation.


Mutual assistance shall be given when the providing member, at its sole discretion, determines that its own needs can be met while providing mutual assistance.  Executing the Agreement does not compel the Big Blue Bus to provide any resources at the time of an emergency; it merely indicates a willingness to do so and abide by the procedures set out in the Agreement. 

Financial Impacts & Budget Actions

There is no immediate financial impact or budget action necessary as a result of the recommended action.  Staff will return to Council if specific budget actions are required in the future. 


Prepared by: Joseph Stitcher, Chief Administrative Officer




Forwarded to Council:







Edward F. King

Director of Transit Services


Rod Gould

City Manager