The VRE Operations Board has recommended awarding of a contract to Keolis Rail Services America for commuter rail operations and maintenance services. The contract includes train operations, locomotive and railcar equipment maintenance and repair, yard operations and warehouse management. The recommendation is being made to VRE's parent commissions, the Northern Virginia and Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commissions, for consideration at their November 5, 2009, meetings.
VRE has an opportunity to
provide enhanced customer service with a more cost effective contract, stated
VRE Chairman, Chris Zimmerman. Keolis was able to bring these qualities to the
table along with vast experience. Over the past several years, VRE has expanded
its facilities so the resources were in place to allow issuance of a competitive
procurement for VRE’s largest contract ever. The existing contract is held by
Amtrak and was issued as a sole-source when VRE began operations in 1992. That
contract expires on June 30, 2010.
"I want to make it
absolutely clear that our selection of Keolis is in no way a reflection on
Amtrak or their employees because they have been a loyal partner from the
beginning. They are an important reason why we stand here today."
Keolis has committed to
providing comparable benefits and seniority to any Amtrak employee hired by
"We are delighted to
have the opportunity to partner with Keolis and continue to improve VRE rail
service," said Dale Zehner, VRE Chief Executive Officer. Zehner added,
"Keolis has a proven track record as a major European provider for public
transportation authorities, safely operating over 5,000 trains daily and providing
service to more than 360 million passengers annually."
According to Chairman
Zimmerman, "VRE is entering a new and exciting phase of its development.
The Operations Board ensured VRE had the necessary facilities to permit a
competitive procurement and VRE staff did an excellent job writing the
solicitation and managing the procurement process. We look forward to working
with Keolis to continue to improve the VRE operation."
If approved by the
Commissions on November 5, 2009, Keolis will assume operations on July 1, 2010,
with a transition period running from December 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010. The
contract term is five years with two five-year renewal options.