JOLIET – The city plans to offer concierge-style security at its new train station.
“We were looking for more of a customer service approach – more of a concierge approach than a security approach,” Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton told City Council members this week.
On Tuesday, the council approved a $153,486 contract with Allied Universal Security Services to provide unarmed security at the Joliet Gateway Center.
Allied’s proposal was the second highest among seven firms that responded to the city’s request for proposals. Proposals ranged from $121,835 to $214,712.
Benton said a city staff team that reviewed the bids and interviewed vendors recommended Allied because it could provide the kind of security services Joliet wanted at the new transit center.
“They’ve proven themselves in that customer service role,” Benton told the council’s Public Service Committee, which reviewed the proposal before the council vote.
Allied already has been working at the Amtrak temporary ticket office outside the new train station, which is expected to open sometime in April. Benton said city police have given good reports on Allied’s performance at the Amtrak station, saying its employees help people to the commuter platform and will carry bags if needed.
He also said the city was looking for a security company that could provide the same employees in Joliet over an extended period so they would be familiar with the transit center and commuters would get to know them.
“The lower cost vendors had a much higher turnover,” Benton said. “They paid their employees a much lower wage.”
The staff narrowed down the vendors to Allied and Securitas Security Services, which bid $145,343, and they interviewed both firms before recommending Allied.
The staff memo recommending Allied stated that it has “a national presence at various transit facilities” and “a long-term relationship with Amtrak.”
Allied will be required to provide someone to staff a security kiosk at the station from 4:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
It also will provide someone to patrol the transit center – including passenger platforms, pedestrian tunnels and the old Union Station – during the morning and evening rush hours.
The security kiosk will be staffed on weekends and holidays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The council voted unanimously for the Allied contract.
The five-year contract rises to $156,635 in the second year. The price will be renegotiated after the second year to account for changes in pay for security staff, and the city has the option to switch to another firm if it can’t reach an agreement on new rates, Joliet contracts administrator Meg McEvilly said.