The winning consortia will finalise the terms of
their eight-year contracts with the state government in August, and
both deals include options for a seven-year extension, subject to the
contractors' performance during the initial term.
Veolia-owned Connex Melbourne won the franchise to operate the commuter
rail lines serving the east and northeast of the city in 1999, but took
over the remainder of the network following the withdrawal of National
Express, Britain, in 2002. Connex has since been penalised by the state
government several times for failing to meet punctuality standards and
last week it was fined $A 11.2 million ($US 8.9 million) for its poor
performance during a heat wave earlier this year. Yarra Trams also
received a $A 1.84 million fine.
For the last decade Melbourne's 249km tram network has been operated by
Yarra Trams, a joint venture between Transfield Services, Australia,
and Transdev, France. Ridership grew by 15.2% in the 12 months to March
to around 178.4 million trips. Transdev CEO Mr Dennis Cliche said:
"Over the 10 years, we've had a demonstrated track record of
performance, value for money and low risk. We have proven expertise in
operating the complex and unique Melbourne tram network. This is a sad
day for Transdev."
Photo: John Hoyle