Public Statement on Nonrenewal of Keolis Commuter Rail Contract

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

Pioneer Institute welcomes the news that the MBTA will not renew its contract with problem-plagued commuter rail operator Keolis Commuter Services when the term ends in 2022. If the MBTA can put an effective bidding process into place for the next contract, this is a positive development for the hundred thousand-plus riders who depend on the system every day.

Since 2013, Pioneer Institute has published a steady stream of research, op-eds, blog commentary, and media appearances critical of Keolis’ performance, and calling for greater penalties for lack of performance and even re-opening the current contract. Increasingly frequent cancellations have incurred a reported $14 million in fines over the past two years, many of which have been forgiven by the MBTA, and the system has been hampered by insufficient staffing, defective equipment, and train shortages. While Pioneer, too, is impatient to see Keolis’ service improve, the Institute also opposed the MBTA’s decision to waive fines and pay the vendor an additional $66 million, on top of its $2.68 billion contract.

We are guided by a basic premise: when procuring a public service through a private contractor, the terms of the contract must be enforced – or the public suffers.

Two years ago, Pioneer Institute proposed a comprehensive fix for the MBTA, which included the establishment of a control board, and other powers. In that document, and before, Pioneer is on the record repeatedly (1) questioning the procurement process which ultimately led to only two commuter rail bidders and (2) calling for the penalty provisions of the contract to be consistently enforced.

We applaud this decision and look forward to pressing for the kind of open procurements that will attract more high-quality bidders, as well as providing insights on the type of contract that might actively promote higher quality service and the modernization of commuter rail systems, vehicles, and infrastructure.

Get Our Fix the T Updates!

COVID-19 Silver Lining: MBTA Takes Advantage of Ridership Lull to Accelerate $8.5 Billion Modernization Program

Pioneer Institute congratulates the Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) and MBTA management for taking advantage of the precipitous ridership declines due to the COVID pandemic to dramatically accelerate ongoing construction projects.

A Time to Build

/
The MBTA is taking advantage of anemic low ridership from the…

Open Letter to MassDOT Board Regarding I-90 Allston Multimodal Project

/
Read Pioneer's Open Letter to MassDOT on the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project, Boston, MA National Environmental Policy Act Review Scoping Report: All At-Grade Option and 8-lane Turnpike – Throat Area

Survey Suggests Demand for Telecommuting After COVID-19 Crisis

Citing an avoidance of the commute and more flexible scheduling, nearly 63 percent of respondents to Pioneer Institute’s survey, “Will You Commute To Work When The COVID-19 Crisis Is Over?” expressed a preference to work from home one day a week, and a plurality preferred two to three days a week, even after a COVID-19 vaccine is available. Respondents cite social isolation as the biggest drawback of remote work. The survey was conducted from April 22nd to May 15th, and received responses from over 700 individuals.

It's Time for the MBTA to Actively Engage Riders to Understand Their Commuting Plans

/
The MBTA should conduct a survey of mTicket app users regarding their future plans. Some may never work in offices again. Some will certainly do some workdays in the office and some at home. Others will be in offices and back to business as usual at some point. Using their responses, the T can calculate ridership and determine projected revenue.

Study Highlights Transit Agency Best Practices in Response to COVID-19

The MBTA is taking a number of important steps to mitigate risks associated with the coronavirus, but some transit agencies around the country - from Philadelphia to San Francisco - have done significantly more, according to a new study that highlights the best practices of U.S. transit systems in response to COVID-19.

WILL YOU COMMUTE TO WORK WHEN THE COVID-19 CRISIS IS OVER?

How will you look at commuting in the future? This survey will ask over 30,000 people how their attitudes and habits will change. Please be part of our work to understand the changing world around us.

MassDOT’s West Station design plans fall one track short

/
In 2014, MassDOT proposed the construction of West Station, a…

Open Letter to MA Governor Charlie Baker Regarding Boston Commuters from Points West

/
In an Open Letter to the Massachusetts Governor, Pioneer Institutes presents its concerns about the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project, and its impact on those who will be most affected during the project’s construction

A Control Board Equipped for the Next Phase of MBTA Reform

In a new policy brief out today, Pioneer Institute calls on the Massachusetts Legislature to extend the life of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board beyond the current fiscal year ending on June 30, and adjust it to address the agency's new challenges.

Pioneer Urges MassDOT to Reconsider At-Grade Throat Option for I-90 Allston Multimodal Project

Pioneer's new Public Comment calls on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to revise its Scoping Report on the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project and recommend an additional option to the Federal Highway Administration.

VIDEO: Reduce Carbon Emissions with Perq!

/
In the final video of a new three-part animated series, Pioneer Institute explores how the MBTA's commuter benefit program called Perq saves you money, lowers your tax burden, and shortens your commute - all while helping the planet.

VIDEO: Attract & Retain Top Employees Through Perq!

/
In part two of a new three-part animated video series, Pioneer…

Study Finds Revived Merit Rating Board Taking Steps to Carry Out Statutorily Mandated Duties

The Merit Rating Board’s recent adoption of a regular meeting schedule, and related resolutions, are important steps in light of that Board’s 1976 governing statute.

Pioneer Institute Announces Winner of 29th Annual Better Government Competition

Pioneer Institute is pleased to announce that Los Angeles Country Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro)’s program, “Operation Farm Team: Global Transportation Infrastructure Workforce Initiative” is the winner of the 29th annual Better Government Competition. The theme of the 2019 contest was, “Moving People, Moving Goods, Moving Forward,” focusing on innovations that prepare America for the future of transportation.

Study Calls for Easing MBTA Procurement Restrictions and Beefing Up Project Management Capacity

Reforms needed if T is to achieve increased capital spending…

Pioneer Institute Public Statement: A Season for Management Reforms

The MBTA's red and green line derailments this week highlight…