Hey, there! Log in / Register

Keolis won't get current contract extended, but state will consider keeping them past 2022

Ed. note: I originally linked to a story that made it sound like the state wanted to ditch Keolis.

The Globe reports that should Charlie Baker run for re-election and win, the state won't extend Keolis's contract past its current 2022 expiration date. But officials say that doesn't mean Keolis can't rebid to keep running commuter rail, just that the state would want to hear other bids as well.

Topics: 
Free tagging: 
Ad:

Comments

They're not even three years into a seven year contract, and now they don't have any incentive to compete to retain the contract beyond 2022. The majority of Keolis' contract will be a "lame duck" period.

up
Voting closed 0

Pretty much what I was just thinking. Great way to make them even stop caring about trying to improve their shitty service. What do they have to lose now?

up
Voting closed 0

Unless I misread the reports elsewhere, the news is simply that (if re-elected) Baker simply won't renew the current agreement (which apparently has a lot of perks), not that Keolis is out. They, like any other company, can submit bids for the new agreement.

The only thing that doesn't make sense is why this is news today. I'm guessing Baker wants to make clear he doesn't like the structure of the current deal and/or wants to put pressure on Keolis by letting them know they need to do better to have any shot for the next agreement...?

up
Voting closed 0

So now what's the incentive for Keolis to do any type of preventative maintenance, track work, or even attempt to maintain a halfway decent service? It would likely be less expensive for them to abandon the contract, pay off whatever legal fees they might owe due to that action, and then there'll be no one to run the commuter rail. The T wants no part of it, and it's not like there's a million firms out there knocking down the door trying to run an antiquated system that the T has neglected for so long. Only in this politically inept commonwealth is biting off one's nose to spite their face considered standard procedure.

up
Voting closed 0

if Keolis leaves before the end of the contract and the MBTA allows them.

up
Voting closed 0

They may not be able to leave the contract depending on what opt-outs both sides have.

Yet, I have speculated the same thing on and off.

Imagine this... You are a management company and have been hired by a slumlord to maintain a set of run-down buildings. You are required to keep them up to code and in a liveable condition but the landlord does not provide you with any parts or tools to do that. Further, if you don't keep the apartments up and to code, he fines you by withholding payments to you.

Sounds absurd.

Yet this is exactly what is happening here. The T handed over a falling-apart system and expected Keolis to perform the miracle of loaves and fishes. It is just not practical.

The current contract has an option to simply sign on for an extension without further debate or consideration. However, now the suggestion is that the state will allow for competitive bidding.

Keep in mind that by 2022, we will have most if not all fo the new Orange and Red line cars in service, some new Green line cars in service, and the whole commuter rail fleet replaced and running for a few years. By then, with the exception of the infrastructure, the whole system will be in much better shape than it is now.

The question then becomes how much of the infrastructure, i.e. the rails, signals, and similar systems, will have been upgraded and in a state of good repair? Some of that process is already underway.

So while some may be thinking the sky is falling, it may also be that this is just a normal and good choice assuming the system will be in better shape.

How good the new (or current) contractor keeps things up is to be seen.

What really is needed, is not a new contractor, but the necessary funds to assure there is a proper maintenance and safety schedule, and funds to assure parts and service are done properly, and a long-range plan to order replacement trains 25 years after the next set is received.

The system would not be in this shape of there had been properly funded, and many of our state legislators do not want to fund the MBTA because their communities are not served by it. As the T gets bigger that is changing but not fast enough.

up
Voting closed 0

Now they should bring back Amtrak to operate it. They did a reasonably decent job running the system until a few years ago, not to mention, the experience and overhead to do it more efficiently than both startups that have run it in recent years.

up
Voting closed 0

The glory days of Amtrak (if there was any) are long gone. Outside of the Northeast Corridor (Electrified Boston-DC) service they are absolutely horrible. Their last few years running the MBTA-CR system was a disaster.

No, the MBTA should run the commuter rail in-house. They won't do any worse then the other operators. Might as well put the funds back into the system and not to some private equality group that plans to do little and ask for hand-outs on a yearly basis.

up
Voting closed 0

What do you mean? As someone who regilularly rides Amtrak, I think it's safe to assume you don't know what you're talking about. I have ridden them cross country and used their corridor trains in Wisconsin and Southern California on several occasions and found them to be just fine to great. Most of the time. There's not much difference between their corridors out west than their corridors in the northeast.

up
Voting closed 0

Amtrak did not bid to continue to run the MBTA when its contract was coming to an end. That is how you got the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR) running it. That was a consortium of rail road operators and rail car manufacturers.

Then as the MBTA's trains started falling apart and the MBCR could not live up to the contract, Keolis moved in. Now Keolis is dealing with the same broken trains and can't do their job either.

I would not be surprised is no one bids to run them forcing the MBTA to run them, themselves.

Keep in mind railroad jobs are federally protected, meaning that if Keolis fails to bid or looses the contract, the new company is required to pick up all fo the same people and employ them. So regardless of the uniform and paycheck it will be the same engineers and conductors, and many of the same support personnel that you never see as well.

So in theory, the T could take it in house, but that is not likely because they will need someone else to blame when something goes wrong, just like they do now. They point to Keolis when in fact the trains they gave them are falling apart.

People just seem to understand this..

up
Voting closed 0

I don't know where you're getting your info, but I've ridden Amtrak all over this country, and while the Northeast Corridor is pretty much its gold standard, I never saw anything on its trains outside of the Northeast that I, or any reasonable person, would evenly remotely classify as "horrible", and in fact have found most of its services on par with what's offered here (corridor services in Maine, the Midwest, and California), and found its long distance services, which are a different product and a different market, quite decent (It should also be mentioned that Amtrak has enjoyed increasing ridership numbers over the past ten or so years). Because I lived in the suburbs back then, I was a regular Commuter Rail rider when Amtrak ran it and have no recollection of the regular systematic failures and neglect that the system was subject to under MBCR and then Keolis. I was a regular rider when MBCR took over, and the deterioration of service was evident within a year. I will wholeheartedly agree with you though that the system would better be run in-house, if that's the route that MassDOT wants to take.

up
Voting closed 0

Did you attempt to ride the Lakeshore Limited to Chicago, with multiple train changes in the middle of the night and only a vain hope to make the "scheduled" connection with the Empire Builder?

Although I had no problem riding the corridor between Portland, OR and Vancouver, BC other than freight related delays.

up
Voting closed 0

We got to Chicago roughly on time (i.e. with ample time for connections, though the Windy City was our destination) and got back to Boston only 2 hours late. And I can tell you, as someone who often is at Back Bay when the eastbound train is due, it does show up on time at the end of the 20 hour trip more than one woud expect.

The switch at Albany is planned (though it should be through cars) and usually early evening westbound and a bit earlier eastbound.

up
Voting closed 0

I last rode the Lake Shore Limited several years ago, but there were no transfers to get to Chicago, other than when they stuck the Boston section on to the New York section at Albany before we proceeded to on to Chicago, but that happened at about 2 or 3 PM. Its scheduled arrival in Chicago was at around 8 or 9 AM, and as far as I can remember, it arrived on time. I had about seven hours in Chicago to walk around in the cold (it was February) and then visit the Art Institute, before boarding my connection for Los Angeles ( I did that trip in coach the whole way, though it was more like a first class airline seat). I'm scheduled to be on the Empire Builder to Portland out of Chicago in March (this time in a bedroom), and per my ticket, it leaves at 2:15 PM. I do remember on the same trip, on my way back from California, when connecting to the Lake Shore Limited home, it was held in Chicago for an hour or so to accommodate a late inbound train. That time was made up enroute,

up
Voting closed 0

There are no transfers between Boston and Chicago. At Albany the New York and Boston sections of the train are combined into one, but that doesn't involve getting off.

Perhaps you rode it during one of the service disruptions due to all the construction going on at Albany? There have been a few periods where there was a cross-platform transfer while they were putting in new switches, and there have been a few occasions where the Boston section has been bused, but this is not the norm.

However, the LSL does have ABYSMAL on-time performance. For the month of December, OTP for #49 (WB) was 10%, with an average delay of 1:57, and OTP for #48 (EB) was 37% with an average delay of 1:37.

up
Voting closed 0

From what I remember, the T didn't refuse to renew the contract with Amtrak. Amtrak refused to renew their contract with the T.

up
Voting closed 0

instead of automatically renewing it with Amtrak. MBCR came in with a much lower price than Amtrak did, so they won the bid for the new contract.

up
Voting closed 0

What the hell is the point of announcing the contract won't be renewed 6 years in advance?

That's like going out to diner and telling the server you plan to leave no tip and 1-star yelp review before you've even seen the menu.

up
Voting closed 0

...Charlie Baker's awesome private sector management experience was exactly what Massachusetts needed. What a joke.

up
Voting closed 0

2018

2018

2018

up
Voting closed 0

Do you have a clue?

From the referenced article:
"Signed in the final year of Deval Patrick's administration ..."

This contract was awarded by the Deval Patrick administration. Baker inherited it.

up
Voting closed 0

          ( for example, forgiving fines for Keolis' failed performance )

up
Voting closed 0

Look up the "genius" behind Forward [email protected]$#ing Funding sometime.

up
Voting closed 0

And you'll find out pretty quickly that underfunding has nothing to do with the T's woes. The problem is overspending and misspending.

up
Voting closed 0

You are very wrong.

up
Voting closed 0

Go ahead - cite the numbers. I'll check back.

up
Voting closed 0

My bad.

up
Voting closed 0

Pure guess.

up
Voting closed 0

Within the past couple of weeks, the MBTA announced a new contract with their largest labor union, Carmens Local 589.
http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/news_events/?id=6442457274&month=&year=

up
Voting closed 0

I've linked to a Globe story on the issue: It's not that the state thinks Keolis sucks so much they're willing to hang them out to dry until 2022, it's just that the state won't extend the current contract past then, will put commuter rail out to bid and that Keolis can certainly put one in - just like the previous operator, MBCR did when its contract ran out.

My apologies for the misconception, which came from a story that sounded like the state was giving Keolis the (very, very slow) boot.

up
Voting closed 0

the MBTA should do this in house. No need to out source it.

up
Voting closed 0

Baker is saying that even if you don't count the 2015 winter problems (and the general state of the trains), that the past 2 years the commuter rail service operated by Keolis has been unacceptable. Well, the same is true for Baker, will he please leave, since he has obviously provided unacceptable leadership for the bus/subway the past two years, given the horrible service.

up
Voting closed 0

Has some motivational tricks up his sleeve, believe you, me! He's going to whine about their service in meetings, and in the media, and whine some more that he's "working with them" to correct any issues, should anybody ask. It's a tactic that doesn't actually work to improve anything, but it seems to keep Governor Baker's approval ratings high. Who knew Massholes were so enamored with such things?

up
Voting closed 0

The MBTA REALLY, REALLY NEEDS to bring this in-house. It's the largest fully-contracted commuter rail system in the country (all the bigger ones - MNCR, LIRR, NJT, SEPTA are all in-house, and Metra is a mix, with the RTA operating some lines, and others being operated by the host railroads (BNSF and UP), and despite the T's shortcomings I think they could do better just running the trains themselves.

It would also eliminate the blame game and force them to accept responsibility when things go wrong, and theoretically provide better service by eliminating the profit motive:
If you tell someone "we'll pay you $X to run this system - your profits are any money you can save by doing it cheaper" then the result is generally going to be poor service quality - because cutting corners is how they make money.

up
Voting closed 0

When the Keolis contract expired, the commuter rail system will come directly under MassDOT under a new-to-be-organized rail division, much like you find in other states.

Trains will be re-done in MassDOT livery (colors) just the Capt Boomerang locomotives. Then slowly MassDot will absorb parts of the MBTA under its control and eliminate the MBTA as it exists today.

Save the link to this post.

up
Voting closed 0