Bryan Cohen Nov. 2, 2012, 6:36pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a $7.3 million settlement on Friday with a Cincinnati-based transportation company that allegedly backed out of a contract with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

First Transit allegedly violated the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act by breaching a contract with the MBTA to operate "The Ride," a door-to-door paratransit service that provides transportation to people with disabilities.

"When First Transit backed out of the contract to run 'The Ride,' it hurt the T's ability to serve the customers who rely on its services and left all taxpayers footing the bill," Coakley said. "This settlement will bring millions of dollars back to commonwealth's taxpayers that deserve the best in public transportation."

In November 2008, First Transit submitted a $97 million bid to provide services for "The Ride" and was awarded a five year contract with the MBTA in March 2009. In April 2009, First Transit learned its bid was much lower than competing bidders and abandoned the contract in May 2009, two months prior to the start date. First Transit asserted that it was given inaccurate information in the request for proposal.

Coakley's office alleged that the reasons for breaching the contract were false.

The assurance resolves the dispute between the parties and requires that First Transit pay $7.3 million to the state and exercise due diligence in future MBTA bids.

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