Following last week’s five-year extension to the Virginia Rail Express (VRE) contract in the Virginia and Washington D.C. area, Keolis this week received a four-year extension from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) on its commuter rail contract to operate and maintain trains in the Boston region.


  • On 15 June Keolis received a four-year extension to operate commuter rail in the Boston region. With the base operating contract due to expire in June 2022, the extended contract will run until June 2026.


  • On 5 June Keolis was awarded a five-year extension to its current contract to operate the commuter rail in Central and Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C. area. Due to expire in July 2020, the extended contract will run until July 2025.


  • These contract extensions reflect the confidence of transport authorities in Keolis as a partner and open the way for delivering even greater benefits to rail users in North America.


Bernard Tabary, CEO International at Keolis Group said:

This is a real milestone for Keolis North America and the Keolis Group and we are proud to see our transport authority partners renew their confidence in us.

Since beginning rail operations in the United States in 2010, the quality of our relations with transport authorities has allowed us to deliver tangible and lasting benefits to rail users and to rise to the numerous challenges we’ve met along the way. Today, as we implement solutions to the challenges created by the coronavirus, we’re particularly pleased to have the opportunity to build on our shared achievements in improving performance on these networks and transforming the rail experience for passengers in North America.


Keolis Commuter Services


Keolis Commuter Services (KCS) has been the MBTA’s contracted Commuter Rail operating partner since 1 July 2014 when KCS began providing all mechanical, transportation and engineering services in the Boston region. The network, which features 14 lines, 139 stations and 640 km of tracks, carried 36 million passengers in 2019.

On 15 June 2020 the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board unanimously awarded KCS a four-year extension to its current Commuter Rail Operating contract, thereby exercising the full term of the contract option. The contract, which was due to expire in June 2022 will now run until June 2026.

In the current contract period beginning in 2014 and in collaboration with the MBTA, Keolis has added 10,000 more trains per year compared to 2014, deployed customer improvements that include technology allowing passengers to pay for tickets onboard with credit and debit cards, and reinforced safety management protocols that include an expanded and updated Safety Department.


Balancing taxpayer and passenger needs, the four-year extension keeps costs low while also enhancing the passenger experience, including a focus on providing more capacity, further increasing on-time performance and accelerating capital delivery. The extension includes a number of additional benefits with a continuous improvement plan for on-time performance, train crew staffing, and seating capacity, fare evasion measures including the installation of automated fare gates and additional conductors onboard trains, and investments in MBTA railroad infrastructure and assets.


Virginia Rail Express contract extension


Keolis has been operating the Virginia Rail Express (VRE) on behalf of the Northern Virginia and the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation commissions since 2010. On 5 June 2020 the VRE Operating Board awarded Keolis a five-year extension to its current contract to operate the commuter rail in Central and Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C. area. The contract, due to expire in July 2020 will now run through July 2025. This was Keolis’ second extension of the contract.

The VRE provides commuter-oriented rail service from the Central and Northern Virginia suburbs to Alexandria, Crystal City, and downtown Washington, D.C., along the I-66 and I-95 corridors. Keolis’ 110 employees operate and maintain the 20 locomotives and 100 cars in service on the 145 km long two-line network.

Since beginning operations in 2010, Keolis has not only implemented customized, individual safety training for each employee that has seen no lost time employee injuries for the past four years, but also driven ridership on VRE which was operating 32 daily trains with approximately 20,000 riders per day in March 2020. With the extension, Keolis’ focus on delivering safety and driving ridership continues alongside a further focus on lifecycle maintenance and extensive rolling stock repair.


Keolis in North America


Keolis has been present in North America since 2002, where it carries 116 million passengers on modes including fixed route, paratransit, tram, and commuter rail services in 21 cities. Keolis employs 6,000 people in the U.S. and Canada.