The council says the new 15-year performance-based contract will deliver savings of around $NZ 100m ($US 68.2m), with the city set to benefit from better rail services for less taxpayer subsidy. Transdev was confirmed as preferred bidder in December.

The contract includes incentives for the operator to improve customer experience with a major focus on on-time performance and customer satisfaction. Transdev will also partner with Hyundai Rotem to provide maintenance services for the network's fleet of 83 FR class Matangi two-car EMUs, delivery of which will conclude later this year.

The 154km Metlink network consists of four lines which serve 49 stations and carried 12.3 million passengers in 2015.

The council and the NZ Transport Agency have invested around $NZ 400m in new rolling stock, line and station improvements in recent years and use of the network is growing, with 4% more passengers using Metlink services last year.