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Helsinki regional transport authority HSL has named national incumbent VR as the winner of a contract to operate the capital’s commuter rail services for 10 years from June 27 2021, with an option for a further three years.
The announcement on May 5 follows the first open tender for the operation of the services, which are currently provided by VR under a directly-awarded contract.
The contract covers more than 7 million train–km/year and 70 million passenger-journeys/year on the ring line serving the airport, on the main line as far as Kerava and the coastal line west to Siuntio.
UK-based transport group Go-Ahead had also bid, while Arriva, First Rail Holdings, MTR Nordic, SJ and Transdev had prequalified but did not bid.
The tenders were evaluated on the basis of price and quality, and performance measures will include punctuality, rolling stock cleanliness and customer surveys.
Cost savingThe contract is worth about €36m/year, with HSL estimating an overall cost saving compared to the current contract of 24% or €275m over 10 years.
‘This is especially important for us, especially now that the financial distress caused by the coronavirus will put a heavy strain on our economy for years to come’, said HSL CEO Suvi Rihtniemi.
HSL will take greater responsibility for the level of services provided, with planned changes to include making passenger information more consistent with metro, tram and bus services.
VR said it had long experience of operating suburban traffic in northern conditions, and could offer customer-oriented service development and the utilisation of data and digital tools as part of its ‘competitive, cost-effective and innovative offer’.
‘We built our offer piece by piece, eliminating everything unnecessary and focusing on how we can further improve the quality of our services and guarantee an excellent customer experience’, said VR Group President & CEO Rolf Jansson ‘Our customer service model on trains and at stations will be renewed, our operations will become more data-oriented, we will adopt a new real-time situational picture and renew train cleaning operations’.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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