Rural Metro faces competition to keep Buffalo contract

Western New York’s largest ambulance company is facing new competition. Rural Metro could get into a bidding war to keep its wheels on the ground in Buffalo.

The nation’s largest private ambulance provider and at least one other out-of-town company have put in bids hoping to get the contract for the Queen City away from Rural Metro.

Rural Metro made it through a brief strike by its workers last July and is now emerging from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. It has been the sole provider of ambulance services for the Buffalo for the past eight years but its contract runs out at the end of this month.

The city has granted Rural Metro a few short contract extensions over the past two years, and the city is now the middle of a Request for Proposals process to hear from other possible bidders.

News 4 has learned that American Medical Response (AMR), the largest private ambulance service in the nation, has formally submitted a bid to get the Buffalo contract, and Common Council member David Franczyk is willing to listen to any competitors.

“Competition is good,” Franczyk said. “I will look at it very objectively, whether it’s Rural Metro or AMR, whichever one it is and the one that I think does the best job after asking a lot of questions is the one that I would recommend.”

The city was accepting bids up until January 27. Rural Metro submitted its bid on the last day, but is eager to keep this contract.

Franczyk said, “We want to make sure that response times are speedy. I think it’s around 7.7 minutes is what the industry standard is but there’s no law that regulates that, which is interesting because there’s been a few occassions where people have to wait a lot longer that that. I think it’s a rarity.”

Though Rural Metro’s contract with the city runs out in 17 days, since all the bids haven’t even been presented to the Common Council yet, it is likely another short extention will be granted.

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