Thursday, December 01, 2011

MBTA weighs rail service operating options

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Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has begun pondering its next contract for operations of its regional (“commuter”) services in the Bay State and neighboring Rhode Island, estimated to be worth $300 million per year.

mbta_logo2.jpgMBTA’s current contract with Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail Co. (MBCR) does not expire until June 2013, but MBTA officials reportedly are considering whether the agency should operate the trains itself, instead of outsourcing through a contractual arrangement.

If MBTA opts to continue contracting out services, it then might re-evaluate its current standard of offering multiple-year deals or agree to a contract spanning more than a decade.

In 2003 MBTA awarded a five-year contract to MBCR and later agreed to a five-year extension which runs to 2013. MBTA had contracted with Amtrak to run its services for 16 years prior to 2013.

The agency has hired KPMG to review other commuter rail arrangements nationally and internationally and evaluate the merits of short- and long-term deals.