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BOSTON – The Mass. Department of Transportation board of directors this month agreed to a multibillion dollar contract with a new operator for the state’s commuter rail network, The Associated Press reported last week.
In doing so, the board rejected a competing bid by the company that has run the system for the past decade.
According to the AP, Keolis Commuter Services, an offshoot of French transit giant Keolis, beat out Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad, or MBCR, in a 6-0 vote. The agreement, the largest in state history, would begin July 1 and run for eight years, with an additional four-year option. The deal is worth up to $4.26 billion over the 12-year period.
The commuter rail system, part of the Mass. Bay Transportation Authority, includes hundreds of miles of track in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and carries roughly 70,000 roundtrip passengers each weekday.
The AP said that the board accepted a recommendation from MBTA officials who evaluated proposals from both bidders over the past several months.
Beverly Scott, the MBTA’s general manager, defended the selection process.
“The new contract sets a ‘no excuses’ expectation that the operator will run the trains on time,” Scott told the board, the AP said. •