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ITALY: The Emilia Romagna region has awarded a contract for the operation of regional passenger rail services to a joint venture of its locally-owned transport operator Trasporto Passeggeri Emilia Romagna and national passenger train operator Trenitalia.
The 1 400 km network includes lines owned by national infrastructure manager RFI and by local company FER. There are 263 stations, and 900 daily services carrying more than 42 million passengers/year.
The contract is to start in 2018, to give the joint venture time to set up a new company and procure 96 additional trainsets. It will then run for 15 years, with an option to extend to 22½ years.
Investments of €750m are planned. The region will pay the joint venture €153m to operate 18 million train-km and 1·2 million bus-km in the first year, an increase on the current €120m. In return, it requires improvements to service quality and new rolling stock to be used on half of all services.
Following a European call for tenders, technical offers for the operating contract had been received from the joint venture and from Arriva. However Arriva did not submit a financial bid, while the joint venture’s financial offer which was opened in February exceeded the budget set. As a result, further negotiations were held with both pre-qualified bidders before the contract was finalised on July 2.
Emilia Romagna’s Minister for Transport & Infrastructure Raffaele Donini said it was the first time an Italian region had tendered services in this way. Awarding the contract had been a learning experience with a positive result which would bring changes to the quality and efficiency of services, he felt.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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