Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby dbperry » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:15 pm

BandA wrote:Back to topic. If you were to clean room the next contract, what would it look like? How would you incent the operator?


The Boston Globe editorial board has an answer:

"With long-term deal, MBTA’s commuter rail network could thrive"
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/edi ... story.html

...But as the Baker administration starts to consider the outlines of the next contract, perhaps it’s time to ask whether it might be us, not them. The contract offered to Keolis — like the contract with Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail before them, and the contracts with Amtrak before that — was relatively short in the context of public transportation. As counterintuitive as it might seem, the best way to achieve breakthrough improvements in service levels might be to take a page from cities and regions that have signed much longer-term agreements coupled with higher expectations.

<snip>

...A contract in the neighborhood of 20 years, along with an expectation that the next contractor would be responsible for the system’s capital needs, would shift responsibility to that company and give it more of an incentive to innovate. While it’s far too soon to start soliciting bids, the Baker administration shouldn’t miss the chance to craft a transformative deal.
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby BandA » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:39 pm

I was thinking - all platforms would be full high except certain low-volume or special exceptions. Gauntlet tracks where needed. Variable block signal systems. Charlie-ii or some other fare cards, with fare machines on almost all platforms, tap in/out on coach doors, conductors with portable readers, maybe proof-of-payment. Automatic doors on all coaches. Three tiers of locomotives - small, medium, large. Layover facilities at/near riverside. Possible electric locomotives on Providence line if costs can be lowered so that it is cheaper than diesel. Plenty of rolling stock and places to store it so that there are spares, new trains can be added, and short sets are available for mid-day and weekend service.

T would be responsible for paying for major station improvements and accessibility capital costs. Vendor would have to pay for all state of good repair maintenance and cost of high level platforms not reimbursable through grants.

T would establish fare equity with express buses & no more than 2x rapid transit fare for similar distance.

Widett Circle or other yard buildout. Beacon Park buildout. South Station expansion. North Station additional bridge.

DMUs or EMUs if and only if the cost comes down so that it is cheaper than locomotive-hauled.

State would underwrite bonds for capital improvements to take advantage of low borrowing costs and tax-exempt status.
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby rethcir » Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:03 pm

WHy does a lo term contract provide incentive to innovate? If I had a 20 year contract at my job, I'd sit on my ass and do nothing all day.
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby FCM2829 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:31 pm

Maybe get Amtrak, MBCR, & Keolis to sit down with the MBTA for a lively discussion of 'Who's the biggest loser and why?'
No, really...
Wouldn't the three previous contract holders be able to make the best assessments and recommendations for change at the MBTA? Not only the physical plant, but also operations.
I like the idea of BandA's 'go big or go home' approach, but that kind of cake is hard to come by via the MBTA's current funding mech. Maybe Trump's projected big money dump into infrastructure would enable some of these projects. I think they might want to concentrate on their maintenance backlog, SGR overall, and working on the horse-tranquilizer sized PTC mandate they'll soon be forced to swallow.
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby deathtopumpkins » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:59 am

rethcir wrote:WHy does a lo term contract provide incentive to innovate? If I had a 20 year contract at my job, I'd sit on my ass and do nothing all day.


Because it's not comparable to your job. Keolis's profits come from any savings it is able to carve out of the subsidy from the T. If they can do it for $100,000 cheaper than what the T pays them, they make $100,000. The logic is that under a longer contract they have more incentive to come up with creative ways to make the operation more efficient, thereby saving more money, and making more profit for themselves. The HOPE is that this increased efficiency would benefit commuters and the state, but I suspect it would in fact just consist of innovative ways to skimp on maintenance and other costs.
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby BandA » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:43 am

Automatic doors, all high-level platforms, faster speeds, newer/less buggy rolling stock, more automated fare system could all save money ==> more vendor profit.
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby octr202 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:13 am

And all of that comes at massive expense (particularly the all-high level platforms and faster speeds). Unlikely there's a combination of long-term vendor contract terms and attractive payment by the MBTA that makes that an easy reality.

We've neglected a lot of the incremental improvements that some commuter rail authorities have been making for a long time, since we've been in survival mode for so long. Catch up isn't going to be cheap or easy.
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby leviramsey » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:31 pm

octr202 wrote:And all of that comes at massive expense (particularly the all-high level platforms and faster speeds). Unlikely there's a combination of long-term vendor contract terms and attractive payment by the MBTA that makes that an easy reality.

We've neglected a lot of the incremental improvements that some commuter rail authorities have been making for a long time, since we've been in survival mode for so long. Catch up isn't going to be cheap or easy.


Can we really say that that MBTA has been in survival mode given how much it has expanded? Old Colony & Greenbush, at about 80 miles, are alone slightly more than half of SEPTA's owned track miles, add in Newburyport, Worcester, and Wachusett (let alone the Rhode Island extensions, though that's not really on the MBTA's books), and you're getting close to adding a SEPTA to the MBTA. The cost of those probably would have allowed electrification on all the existing lines inside of 128, nearly all the platforms to be high level, and enough track and signal upgrades to allow maximal 79 mph on the circa 1990 system. Hell, if they electrified within 128, they might even have been able to roll the NSRL into the Big Dig (instead of Old Colony restoration).

And if they spent 1990-2005 focusing on the core of the system, there's every reason to suspect that the combination of faster speeds and better farebox recovery (though isn't the MBTA's the third highest commuter rail farebox recovery in the country, behind SEPTA and Caltrain?) would have made the extensions a lot easier and cheaper, if a few years later than they ended up being.
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby dbperry » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:16 pm

leviramsey wrote:Can we really say that that MBTA has been in survival mode given how much it has expanded?


Yes. Survival mode in terms of operations, rolling stock (subway, CR, etc.), and operational budget funding.

Expansions come from different funding sources (including federal) and then leave an unfunded mandate with additional maintenance & operating costs to be absorbed by the operational budget.

Could ALL the capital funding spent over the last 20-25 years have been better allocated to projects that would have left the MBTA in a better state of good repair or better state for future service? Obviously yes but it's never as simple as that. For a simple example, see the Conservation Law Foundation lawsuit & settlement that required construction of Greenbush as mitigation for the environmental effects of the Big Dig.
Known to Keolis and the MBTA as "Twitter Dave"
Frequently posting about the MBTA Framingham-Worcester line on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FramWorMBTA
Owner of Framingham-Worcester Blog: http://FramWorMBTA.weebly.com/
Maintainer of MBTA schedule archive: http://www.dbperry.net/MBTA/
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby leviramsey » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:08 pm

dbperry wrote:Could ALL the capital funding spent over the last 20-25 years have been better allocated to projects that would have left the MBTA in a better state of good repair or better state for future service? Obviously yes but it's never as simple as that. For a simple example, see the Conservation Law Foundation lawsuit & settlement that required construction of Greenbush as mitigation for the environmental effects of the Big Dig.


With friends of transit like the Conservation Law Foundation, who needs enemies?

In the context here, which is commuter rail capex, the MBTA has not been in survival mode for the better part of 30 years.
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby GP40MC1118 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:27 pm

Well Greenbush wouldn't have cost so much if the "good" people of Hingham hadn't fought and delayed
it tooth and nail. That tunnel requirement didn't help...

D
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby BandA » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:41 pm

leviramsey wrote:With friends of transit like the Conservation Law Foundation, who needs enemies?
+1
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby leviramsey » Tue May 23, 2017 7:15 pm

Slides from a May 15 presentation to the FMCB

Nothing concrete there, but this is probably the first legacy CR operation (with the possible exception of SEPTA 40 years ago) that's at least asking what it would take to bring RER/S-Bahn/Overground-style practice into North America. Questions like: what would DMU service look like? Electrification? Gateway City expresses (i.e. Heart2Hub-style limited/express service on more lines)? More 128/495 short turns? EMUs? Terminal changes beyond SSX (is that code for NSRL?)? Double-tracking? Clean-room signals? Extensions? Infill stations?

Whoever is bidding for 2022 will likely be bidding on something very different from what Keolis, MBCR, Amtrak, and B&M bid on.
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby BandA » Wed May 24, 2017 5:38 pm

Looks like a request for a $2M study. Says there were full simulations built for 2006 fare increase and for SSX using "various software". How can I access them and run them on my laptop? Can we get us Foamers to build free open source simulations for modelling?
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Re: Keolis Contract Will Not Be Extended; New Bid for 2022

Postby leviramsey » Thu May 25, 2017 7:46 am

Do you have a few hundred grand lying around? That's a good estimate of the pricetag for transportation infrastructure modeling.

I've actually toyed with getting a key for the MBTA's location API and logging all of that 1-minute granularity goodness for some analytics (partly with the aim of constructing an optimized schedule).
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