MBTA had considered direct operation as a successive option to its current situation, where trains are operated by Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail under a contract with the MBTA that expires in June 2013. MBCR has run the regional rail system since 2003. MBTA does operate “T” heavy rail, light rail, and bus services.
Remaining options reportedly include a new short-term contract with a private operator in the range of 5-to-10 years; or a longer-term contract of 10-to-30 years.
The potential risks of direct operation, identified recently by consulting firm KPMG and also by MBTA legal counsel, include higher wages for unionized regional rail employees, and the potential costs of creating a separate public rail entity.