MTM and Keolis Downer retain contracts to operate Melbourne's trains and trams

VICTORIAN Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan last week announced that Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) and Keolis Downer (KDR) have been awarded new contracts to operate Melbourne's train and tram networks for the next seven years.

According to the Minister, the new contracts mandate higher performance targets and enforce tougher penalties if these targets are not met. The contracts are also expected to deliver 700 new jobs, including 375 apprenticeships and include a minimum 85 per cent local content.

'Train Over Tram', Melbourne
Above: 'Train Over Tram', Melbourne / by Michael Coghlan.

Metro Trains Melbourne, which is a joint venture between MTR Corporation (60%), John Holland (20%) and UGL Rail Services (20%), will transfer to the new contract at the end of November following the expiry of the existing eight-year franchise contract. The new contract also includes options to extend the contract term by up to three years.

Other key features of the new train contract include:

  • Over the seven years, an extra 335 weekly peak services each week and 1,758 weekly inter-peak and weekend services will be added;
  • Higher reliability and punctuality performance through increased maintenance to improve infrastructure and rolling stock reliability;
  • Upgrading 500 CCTV cameras; and
  • Improving the passenger experience with more information and cleaner trains and stations.

"Passengers have said they want to see improved performance and these new contracts will crackdown on operational practices such as city-loop and station skipping, short running of trams, graffiti, poor communication and information and dirty trains and trams," Ms Allan said.

"A massive 37 per cent increase in maintenance and renewal investment will improve network infrastructure to reduce the number of faults on the system including signalling failures, overhead wires and points failures which lead to train delays and cancellations.

"For the first time, MTM will face a $10 million penalty if they do not achieve new higher maintenance standards in the first two and half years of the contracts.

"The new contract will also ensure that MTM will be penalised up to $700,000 to compensate passengers if a network failure results in more than 50 per cent of services cancelled or delayed by 30 minutes or more within a two hour period," Ms Allan said.

Keolis Downer's new franchise contract for the tram network will also commence at the end of November, which will provide the company with a further seven years to operate tram services along 250 kilometres of double track, with approximately 24 routes, 1,700 tram stops and 410 trams.

"We are very pleased by the trust that the Victorian Government has placed in Keolis for the next seven years," said Keolis CEO International, Bernard Tabary.

"We will continue working closely with our client to operate the tram network more efficiently and to enhance the passenger experience by delivering safe, reliable, clean and easy-to-use services every day. This new contract reinforces our presence in Australia and our world leadership in tram network operations."

Photo: 'Train Over Tram', Melbourne / Michael Coghlan / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0.

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