• Keolis Contract is now Extended; Contract Operator until 2026

  • Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.
Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

  by BandA
On 15 June 2020 the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board unanimously awarded KCS a four-year extension to its current Commuter Rail Operating contract, thereby exercising the full term of the contract option. The contract, which was due to expire in June 2022 will now run until June 2026.
The extension includes a number of additional benefits with a continuous improvement plan for on-time performance, train crew staffing, and seating capacity, fare evasion measures including the installation of automated fare gates and additional conductors onboard trains, and investments in MBTA railroad infrastructure and assets.
https://www.keolis.com/en/media/newsroo ... n-dc-areas
Also the VRE contract is extended to 2025.
  by eolesen
Guess the title of this doesn't apply anymore since the contract was ultimately extended?...

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  by danib62
Well boo
  by Commuterrail1050
Why did they decide to extend it after saying they won’t? This makes no sense as the delays and cancellations will keep going as it is.
  by BandA
I can't find the other threads on this; I know it has been discussed before. Reason is partially kick-the-can down the road, partially covid, and a lot that they would have few bidders and probably higher price than the current contract. Choices basically: keolis, amtrak, take it in-house, bring in someone who is New.
  by Trinnau
If you want to search news articles they have plenty of information. This was done in the spring/summer of 2020 so it's not really new information, but it was overshadowed by COVID. BandA hit the nail on the head, it's a "we can figure this out later" plan.
  by BandA
risk is price in 2025 is higher even though passenger load is still depressed. There is the company running the Hartford line service for CTDOT (?Alternative Concepts? with James Aloisi?), Boston Surface Railroad, Corridor Capital, Brightline...
  by Engineer Spike
A few years ago I applied for an engineer position at Keolis, and was hired. Unfortunately so family trouble precluded me from accepting. In the process, I learned some things which should answer some of the questions. First, only the top few managers stay with Keolis. Everyone else stays, not matter what. That is why some employees are still employed through the long list of contractors. Many started with B&M, and continued through Amtrak, MBCR, and finally Keolis. As far as pensions go, the vast majority are covered under RRB. Maybe managers have an additional company pension.

I'm in agreement with other posters about the $h!t sandwich which Keolis was given. I think that if a contractor was unscrupulous they could easily pull the wool over the eyes of the Mass DOT people, who likely have no railroad experience. The problem is that most railroaders of today are brainwashed to the ways of the late Hunter Harrison. It would be very difficult to find a railroader like of Dusty.

The last point is about the equipment. It seems like since many o the commuter agencies have gone public sector, the equipment is getting stranger and stranger. Every new contract seems to be like reinventing the wheel. In this regard, I applaud Metra. They have stuck to the same basic gallery car as has been used for the last 60 years. Their power is generally old, but the new units are still mostly bulletproof EMD products. Even the MPI units are mostly built around proven EMD designs. Maybe other agencies need to take note.
  by BandA
Theoretically, when a new contractor comes in they could just replace everybody with their own people. That would not be practical, and would lead to a slight conflict with some unions. MBTA contract presumably requires prevailing wage and a bunch of other crap rules. Don't see how the MBTA could *require* a private contractor to hire the employees of another private contractor, yet it wouldn't surprise me. FRA probably requires railroad pensions. If you remember back, MBTA or MassDOT employees were caught tampering with Keolis' attempt to hire a chief engineer from Bombardier instead of hiring the MBCR person. The state employees contacted Bombardier and told them that he was applying to work at Keolis, violating his rights and Keolis' rights.
  by CRail
The MBTA contract requires retention of staff. How high up gets fuzzy, but the boots on the ground cannot be let go. In the case of Amtrak, everyone had the option; stay with Amtrak, or stay with Commuter Rail.
  by Trinnau
The replacement of the boots on the ground in short order is near impossible. It takes time to train on rules, physical characteristics, etc. and why would a new company want to waste a ton of resources doing that when the staff to do the work is already there and has been doing it for years.

Yes, MBTA requires retention of workforce - at least all of the union workforce and some lower levels of management. B&M people had the choice to stay or go to Amtrak. Amtrak people had the choice to stay or go to MBCR. The MBCR group went to Keolis.

Think of it like a merger or acquisition where you want to maintain operations. Eventually the new corporate direction takes over, but it takes time.