Greater Wellington Regional Council's new metro rail contractor Transdev will deliver savings of around $100 million over the next 15 years starting in July, according to chairman Chris Laidlaw.
Mr Laidlaw said the new performance-based contract will result in better rail services for less ratepayer subsidy in coming years and that rail commuters, including those from Wairarapa, will see a new look to rail services, including the move to one public transport brand, Metlink.
"Ratepayers can expect to see real lifts in value for money over the term of the rail contract," he said. "This is the first public transport contract in the Wellington region that is truly performance-based and drives true partnering.
"And it is just the beginning, the council will follow with new bus services and contracts over the next two years. We will continue to see improvements and real value for money."
General manager of public transport Wayne Hastie said, in 2016/17, the projected cost payable to Transdev by GWRC for running rail services is $56 million.
"This is only part of the total projected costs of rail operations and asset management, such as station cleaning, maintenance and upgrades, park and ride maintenance and security of $108 million," he said. "The regional council also manages new rail contractor to bring $100m in savings
the whole passenger rail operation, which includes contracting KiwiRail to operate and maintain the rail network track, traction and signals, maintaining the station assets managing the customer interface."
The contract with Transdev offers incentives for the operator to improve customer experience with a big focus on on-time performance and customer satisfaction. The new contract follows big investments in Wellington rail by Greater Wellington Regional Council and the NZ Transport Agency.
More than $400 million has been invested in new trains over the past few years, with the last of these trains due to be commissioned later this year.
With network and station upgrades and improving commuter information about arrival and departure times online and at stations, use of rail continues to grow strongly across the region -- up by more than 4 per cent last year. Mr Laidlaw said the work of the existing rail contractor, KiwiRail, along with a significant investment in rail by central government and GWRC, had set a great platform for the future.
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