NCTD Board approves rail operations, facilities maintenance business model

June 4, 2021
NCTD’s new business model will improve accountability, performance and efficiency.

Staff recommendations for a new rail operations and facilities maintenance business model was approved by the North County Transit District (NCTD) Board of Directors.

The new model aims to improve accountability, performance and efficiency. Under the new model, NCTD will directly hire and manage COASTER engineers, conductors and maintenance of equipment personnel, SPRINTER train operators, train attendants, maintenance of equipment personnel and certain facilities maintenance staffing.

“This new business model is a significant step in the continued improvement of our operations and our focus on providing a positive experience for our riders,” said Tony Kranz, NCTD Board chair and Encinitas Deputy Mayor. “As we look toward the future of rail operations and facilities maintenance, we are incorporating lessons learned from past and current agreements that align with core principles, while retaining our workforce and maximizing return on investment.”

To support the new business model, NCTD will be adding approximately 145 full-time personnel over the next 24 months. The first phase of the transition will be completed by June 30, 2022, with NCTD assuming direct responsibility for COASTER and SPRINTER train operations and maintenance of equipment. The second transition phase to in-source certain functions of facilities maintenance and procure specialized contracts will be completed by June 30, 2023.

Key considerations, which played a critical role in the board’s approval of the new business model, included a focus on strengthening the district’s safety culture, fostering workforce development and supporting NCTD’s Zero Delay Program, an initiative with the goal of eliminating delays on all services, which has become a core principle of NCTD’s operations, maintenance, safety and training functions.

“Ownership and control of the railroad makes NCTD more accountable to our customers and this new plan helps to ensure that we can meet our goals and preserve the long-term financial health of our District without compromise to the customer experience. We look forward to a successful transition with our partners,” said Kranz.