Passengers on Metrolink will be travelling under new management from this summer following a decision by Transport for Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester Combined Authority to pick a consortium led by Keolis Amey to replace the incumbent.
The contracts with current operator RATP Dev and construction partner MPT, who were among the beaten finalists in the last round of four shortlisted bidders, will cease in July. The others bidders beaten by Keolis Amey were National Express and Transdev.
Public transport operator Keolis and infrastructure giant Amery operate London’s Docklands Light Railway together. Their appointment for up to 10 years has been ratified by the 10 council leaders of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, parent body to TfGM, and the contract was signed this week. TfGM said features of the contract include:
- Creation of more than 300 jobs including drivers, apprenticeships and traineeships, and a commitment to upskill, enhance training and qualifications for staff
- Focus on improving operational reliability, customer service and security with an increased staff presence on the network – particularly in the evening and at weekends
- Commitment to source a minimum of 40% of supplier contracts within 25 miles of Greater Manchester, and customer and community engagement, including ‘Meet the Manager’ and ‘Tweet the Manager’ sessions.
Keolis Amey will inherit a fleet of 120 trams. Work on the £350m Trafford Park line started this month by MPT and the line is due to be operational by 2020/21. The Second City Crossing is due to start operating this year, which marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of Metrolink.
Keolis is 70% owned by SNCF – France’s state-owned railway operator – and 30% owned by Canadian pension fund, Caisse de depot et de placement du Québec. Globally, Keolis operates in 16 countries across four continents. Keolis operates the trams in Nottingham, under the Nottingham Express Transit network. Amey is a large UK public and regulated services provider with over 21,000 staff and 320 contracts, including waste collection in Trafford and street lighting in Manchester. The company’s services include utilities, highways, waste management, rail, justice solutions, social housing and facilities management. Amey is owned by Spanish public company Ferrovial.
Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of the TfGM Committee, said: “This appointment firmly reinforces our commitment to delivering the very best for passengers, and to realising the full potential and benefits of the unprecedented growth and investment we are overseeing in the network.
“After investing so heavily in transforming the infrastructure, this was always going to be a pivotal appointment without compromise. What we have here is a long-term, affordable commitment to providing a world-class service.
“In reaching this decision, I would like to pay tribute to the operational staff who have played a crucial part in managing a period of great change with the delivery of the network’s expansion in recent years. The future looks very positive indeed.”
Alistair Gordon, chief executive of Keolis UK, said: “Metrolink has made a huge contribution to Greater Manchester’s economic growth and its ongoing success will be a major factor in meeting the city region’s ambitions.
“KeolisAmey represents a proven combination of operational and technical excellence, which has succeeded in raising the already very high standards of punctuality and customer service on the DLR.
“We’re confident that we can bring the same success to Metrolink, delivering the highest levels of performance and customer satisfaction for the benefit of Greater Manchester’s travelling public.”