Keolis Commuter Service New Operator of the CR Discussion

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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby Finch » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:22 pm

wicked wrote:I'm not totally familiar with the RFP process, but it seems to me the T is being *very* transparent about all of this. It's almost like the I's got dotted and the T's got crossed four times each just to make sure asses were covered.

With most any RFP, it's in the MBTA's best interest to dot the I's and cross the T's. Otherwise, you know, one of the losing bidders sues you. I have to believe that you are right about them being extra careful with this one. It's a HUGE contract, and it was basically a given that MBCR would fight tooth and nail to hang onto it.
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby ST214 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:07 am

All I am getting for the MBCR final document is 4 cover pages. The Keolis document comes up complete with charts and a plan on how to fix the equipment to stop the failures and bring back ridership. I still think this is a huge victory for the daily commuter, as look what Keolis has done with VRE. Yes, VRE is a much smaller 2 line system perhaps they are trying to show other perspective clients they can handle a large system. What better place to prove that than Boston? :)
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby octr202 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:39 am

Yeah, I've noticed that - only 4 pages, without any content. There seems to be a common theme here - I noticed the MBCR proposal documents are all labelled "public," and one of these (I forget which) had a disclaimer that there are sections deemed "corporate or trade secrets" that they do not want released. Then there's the statement in the Globe regarding their protest and possible litigation where they want to block the MBTA from releasing financial data on the individual consortium members. Keolis doesn't seem to have this same issues - their documents do look much more substantial and complete. It certainly does make it look like Keolis wants to do what it takes to win the business, whereas MBCR was just going through the motions - just doing the paperwork to get the next contract.

While it would obviously be in the interest of Keolis to paint MBCR in a less than favorable light, their portrayal of existing conditions in their proposal is pretty bleak.

As a commuter, I hope that their desire to use this contract as a resume builder bodes well for us. Interesting to note that part of their cost savings comes from their willingness to accept a 0% profit margin in the first year - I'm not sure if that's been picked up on elsewhere. If they can make substantial improvements in operations, customer satisfaction, mechanical performance here, they'll have legitimate grounds to claim the ability to take on just about any passenger rail operations contract in North America.

I noticed a few references to some key staff positions being filled - it looked like some of the people identified were listed as coming from Metra in Chicago. It will be interesting to see where more of their management team comes from as they develop it.

And as a final railfan comment, every time I see Keolis Commuter Services abbreviated as "KCS" I keep thinking, "what the heck does the Kansas City Southern have to do with our commuter rail contract??" ;-)
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby dowlingm » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:40 am

As I noted on the All Aboard Florida thread, since some of the locals aren't wild about Keolis maybe MBCR could do a swap... (edit: link removed as it appears to be broken)
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby octr202 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:53 am

I skimmed the end of that thread (hint, it's in the Florida East Coast forum if you're looking for it). Is there anything to that other than the SNCF Holocaust issue that we've already been through here? Anything relative to their qualifications as a passenger rail operator today?
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:23 am

octr202 wrote:I skimmed the end of that thread (hint, it's in the Florida East Coast forum if you're looking for it). Is there anything to that other than the SNCF Holocaust issue that we've already been through here? Anything relative to their qualifications as a passenger rail operator today?


They got high marks for service improvements on VRE after taking over that contract from Amtrak. But it's a very subjective standard because VRE's new locomotives all started coming the first year of Keolis service after being ordered well before the contract bid, so their service and reliability improved naturally without action on Keolis' part. They are likewise underway now on replacing some of their oldest ex-Metra gallery coaches. Plus Amtrak has pumped so much money into the Fredericksburg Line's corridor for expanded Virginia Regionals service that VRE has tapped a windfall of much-improved track. So the performance metrics that have the agency quite happy with how it's worked out are internal and probably a little obtuse to the average commuter. Plus, VRE is a very small operation that only in the last year instituted first-time weekend service. Compared to the T the difference in scale between systems is massive. Staying on top of VRE's ops and maint needs is nowhere near as difficult as it is here.

That said, Keolis did provide lots of meaty detail (albeit spun in their favor) in their proposal on how they targeted specific issues for improvement. I thought the Case Studies they cited were fascinating reads that backed up some of their analysis of problem areas in T ops that they thought they could improve. They substantiated their specifics very well. But at this point, and seeing how pathetic their bid documentation was vs. Keolis', it's clear the contract decision was much more a referendum on MBCR's awful performance and grating arrogance and contempt for transparency than it was Keolis necessarily overpowering the bid with its awesomeness. So we'll just have to see if the improvements are meaningful enough for commuters to take immediate notice.
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby NH2060 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:53 pm

MBCR wants contract bid details released. Let the fun begin with this one:
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/0 ... story.html
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby sery2831 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:58 pm

They have been released, look on page 2 of this thread.
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby NH2060 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:48 pm

sery2831 wrote:They have been released, look on page 2 of this thread.

Oh good grief -_- Was on cruise control haha sorry.
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby Diverging Route » Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:11 am

Update from the Boston Globe on the possibility of litigation or an appeal.
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby Diverging Route » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:11 pm

Yet another update from the Globe on the evaluation process.
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby chrisf » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:46 pm

Diverging Route wrote:Yet another update from the Globe on the evaluation process.

Reading through the two companies' proposals, it's obvious that MBCR felt certain that they would win the contract, and their proposal has little detail on how they'd make the claimed improvements.
Like the MBTA team reviewing the proposals, my thinking as I read the MBCR proposal was "why haven't these improvements been made if it were possible for MBCR to do them?"
I really can't imagine that it's possible for Keolis to do worse than MBCR running the T's commuter rail system.
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby daytripper1 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:58 pm

chrisf wrote:I really can't imagine that it's possible for Keolis to do worse than MBCR running the T's commuter rail system.


We thought that when MBCR took over from Amtrak. Same lofty goals and empty promises. 11 years later...
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:18 pm

daytripper1 wrote:
chrisf wrote:I really can't imagine that it's possible for Keolis to do worse than MBCR running the T's commuter rail system.


We thought that when MBCR took over from Amtrak. Same lofty goals and empty promises. 11 years later...


I believe it is time for change...as always tho, there will be pro's and con's
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Re: Keolis Commuter Service Wins CR for 8 Years

Postby daytripper1 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:22 pm

MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 wrote:
daytripper1 wrote:
chrisf wrote:I really can't imagine that it's possible for Keolis to do worse than MBCR running the T's commuter rail system.


We thought that when MBCR took over from Amtrak. Same lofty goals and empty promises. 11 years later...


I believe it is time for change...as always tho, there will be pro's and con's


Amen, brother. It's hard to think that Keolis could be as dysfunctional as MBCR is. When you have 8 GMs in the span of 11 years, that's never a recipe for success. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I still remeber thinking similarly when we parted ways from Am.
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