After a highly competitive review, Keolis North America has been awarded a $2.6 billion, eight-year contract to manage, operate and maintain the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail service.
The MBTA contract awarded to Keolis Commuter Services, a division of Keolis North America, is the single largest public transportation contract in the country. It includes the option for two additional two-year extensions. If the extensions are granted, the total contract value would rise to $4.2 billion over 12 years.
“The MBTA is looking forward to this partnership as we launch an exciting new era in Commuter Rail service,” said MBTA General Manager Beverly A. Scott. “The new Commuter Rail contract will lead to an enhanced customer experience, more effective management and greater operator accountability.” Scott said customer benefits will be realized in a number of key areas including on-time performance, vehicle reliability, cleanliness, fare collection and communications.
The MBTA, also commonly known in Massachusetts as “The T,” is the fifth-largest rail system in the U.S. It serves approximately 127,000 passengers daily with 13 lines, 671 track miles, 134 stations, and 500 daily trains. In winning the contract, Keolis North America unseated the longtime incumbent operator, Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company (MBCR).
“We are extremely proud to be selected to manage the MBTA, one of the premiere commuter rail systems in the country,” said Keolis North America President Steve Townsend.
“We pride ourselves in how we are ‘thinking like a passenger’ in operating a commuter rail system, improving customer service, on-time performance, and value for both the passenger and the system owner. We’ve demonstrated success in these areas with the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) contract and all of our U.S. and Canadian transportation system accounts, and we look forward to bringing this high level of service to MBTA starting this summer,” Townsend said.
Keolis North America has a strong record of success with VRE since unseating the incumbent operator and beginning service in 2010. Since that time, ridership, customer satisfaction, and on-time performance for the VRE system have all reached record highs.
Keolis North America will begin operating the MBTA commuter rail line on July 1.