Rockville, Md.-based Keolis America, Inc., a subsididary of Paris-based Keolis, has expressed direct interest in the MBTA contract, as has the current operator of MBTA rail service, Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR).
MBCR has operated the Bay State's rail operations since 2003, but its reputation suffered due to severe winter weather in 2010-2011 and subsequent problems with air conditioning on board trains. But many still expect MBCR's contract, which expires in 2013, to be renewed, which may explain the falloff in interest from other parties.
"We did a significant amount of work to encourage bids," said MBTA Acting General Manager Jonathan R. Davis said, expressing hope that the two active bidders would result in cost savings for MBTA.
Early this year, MBTA decided it would continue to contract out its regional rail passenger services, rejecting the option to operate trains itself.