The Chicago Transit Authority today launched a new online system for vendors and potential vendors that will improve efficiency and help reduce administrative costs, as well as attract more vendors to participate in the CTA procurement process.
The system allows current vendors to update and maintain vendor information, interested companies to apply for CTA vendor status, and minority or female-owned small businesses to apply for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) status?all via the internet. CTA recommends prospective vendors be registered with CTA prior to doing business with the agency.
Beginning today, vendors can access applications directly at www.ctavendor.com or at CTA's website at www.transitchicago.com through the Procurement Information link. The documents can be filled out and submitted directly from the computer. This new online option eliminates the need for lengthy paper applications and speeds the initial process for determining a company's qualifications for vendor or DBE status. CTA will still provide options for companies who prefer to download or receive their applications by mail.
"Making the application process easy and convenient will attract more companies to the vendor opportunities available at the CTA," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?By creating a larger pool of potential vendors, CTA is able to receive more competitive bids which helps keep costs in check."
In addition, the online form is user-friendly, filling in default information such as company name and address in the appropriate places throughout the electronic form and reducing the possibility of formatting errors that can result in the application being returned to the vendor for correction.
The online system will be especially advantageous to minority or female-owned small businesses seeking DBE status in order to compete for CTA contracts and contracts with other agencies. By streamlining the initial application process, CTA hopes to encourage more firms to seek DBE status, which will increase the number of small minority and women-owned firms participating in the CTA procurement process. CTA's goal is to award 30 percent of its contracts to DBE firms.
As with companies who use the traditional paper system, businesses using the online system to apply for DBE status will receive the added benefit of filling out just one application, and receiving DBE status just once, to be eligible for business with DBE participating agencies, including City of Chicago, Illinois Department of Transportation, Metra and Pace. The DBE forms are standardized certification eligibility forms made available through the Illinois Unified Certification Program
(IL UCP). Additionally, since the DBE certification form is a universal document, a DBE firm can print the completed online form and use it to apply for DBE certification with agencies across the nation that receive United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) funding.
As a recipient of federal funding, the CTA is required to operate a DBE program. A company can be certified as a DBE if: it is a small business as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration and 51 percent of the ownership belongs to an individual who is a minority or a female and whose personal wealth does not exceed $750,000.
The CTA is sending registered vendors a letter with a temporary user ID and password information to access their new online accounts. Those companies are now able to update or modify their company profiles.
In addition, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise companies currently certified with CTA now can complete annual renewal certification forms online.
In June 2005, the CTA approved a $127,500 contract for the design, development and implementation of software that would enable CTA to offer online vendor registration and DBE certification. New York-based iRail, LLC was selected through a competitive bid process.
Funding for the development of the software was provided by the Federal Transit Administration and the Regional Transportation Authority. # # #