Vy Tog, TideArriva and SJ Norway were shortlisted for the Traffic Package 3 West contract. Vy Tog’s offer involves a number of improvements for passengers, and the government will receive up to NKr 2.2bn ($US 239.5m) over the duration of the nine year contract, which runs from December 2020 to December 2029, with the option for a two year extension.

“The competition for Traffic Package 3 West has been fierce, like the first two traffic packages,” says railway director, Ms Kirsti Slotsvik. “The three offers are similar in that they provide more trains for the same price. The offer from Vy Tog was the best in both quality and cost, and will mean significant improvements to the route offer in terms of number of departures and an exciting further development of the train product.”

“It's a joyous day for Vy today - after two second places, it is first place,” says Vy vice-president of passenger trains, Mr Arne Fosen.

Objectives for the traffic package are:

  • an increase in passenger numbers
  • more services
  • optimal operation and maintenance of the fleet
  • an efficient and market-oriented organisation
  • good cooperation with regional authorities and operators in the sector, and
  • a seamless offer between the traffic package and other public transport.

The bids were weighted 60:40 between quality and price.

In terms of quality, the operators were evaluated on four main criteria: planning to attract more passengers and improve satisfaction; creating a solution for customer service; ensuring robust and efficient operation; and ensuring mobilisation before services start.

The Directorate set minimum requirements for the customer service on the individual routes, such as the number of departures, where trains should stop and what a standard fare should cost - including minimum requirements for social discounts such as for children, students and pensioners.

The offer improvements will mainly consist of:

  • multiple departures on all routes
  • better overnight offers
  • improved service
  • better solutions for travellers with special needs, and
  • improved transport conditions.

Under the current direct purchase agreement with Vy, the government is paying around NKr 201m for services on the Bergen - Voss - Myrdal and Bergen - Arna trains, along with the Oslo S - Bergen overnight train. The daytime Oslo S - Bergen service is not part of the public purchase. Employees currently working on the lines under the existing contract will be offered the chance to transfer to Vy Tog.

Vy Tog will be able to receive a start-up bonus of up to NKr 20m and an annual bonus of up to NKr 16m, provided it reaches predefined milestones.

Vy Tog must enter into an agreement with national ticket provider Entur to ensure passengers can receive route information and purchase tickets for all train services in one place. Vy Tog will also rent rolling stock from Norwegian Trains.

The contract will be signed on December 20 in Bergen, following a 10-day cooling-off period.