New rail contract means better service for passengers, big savings for ratepayers
Wellington will get better rail services for less ratepayer subsidy in coming years, following the appointment today of a new metro rail operator by Greater Wellington Regional Council.
The new performance-based contract, awarded to Transdev Wellington Ltd and expected to start in July, will deliver savings of around $100m over the next 15 years.
Chris Laidlaw, Chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), says rail commuters will see a new look to rail services including the move to one public transport brand, Metlink. "And ratepayers can expect to see real lifts in value for money over the term of the rail contract."
The contract offers incentives for the operator to improve customer experience with a big focus on on-time performance and customer satisfaction. The higher quality services will encourage more people to use public transport.
The new contract follows big investments in Wellington rail by Greater Wellington Regional Council and the NZ Transport Agency. More than $400m has been invested in new trains over the last few years, with the last of these trains due to be commissioned later this year. With network and station upgrades and improving commuter information about arrival and departure times online and at stations, use of rail continues to grow strongly across the region - up by more than 4% last year.
"This is the first public transport contract in the Wellington region that is truly performance based and drives true partnering", says Mr Laidlaw. "And it is just the beginning, the Council will follow with new bus services and contracts over the next two years. We will continue to see improvements and real value for money."
Mr Laidlaw acknowledged the work of the current rail contractor, KiwiRail, and said it, along with a significant investment in rail by central government and GWRC, had set a great platform for the future.
Transdev is partnering with Hyundai Rotem, makers of the Matangi trains, to deliver train maintenance services. The partnership gives Wellington a unique opportunity to benefit from an operator with global passenger rail expertise and a maintainer with intimate knowledge of the Matangi trains' design and performance.
Transdev is a world leader in operating passenger transport services in Europe, North America, Asia and the Pacific. It operates a range of services in Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
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