KDR named new Melbourne tram operator

By: Jason Whittaker

Transport operator KDR has been confirmed as the successful franchisee for the Melbourne tram network. KDR is a joint venture partnership

Transport operator KDR has been confirmed as the successful franchisee for the Melbourne tram network.

KDR is a joint venture partnership between international transport operator Keolis and engineering group Downer EDI.

The Victorian Government awarded the contract to KDR – which is valued at approximately $2.8 billion over eight years – with new performance benchmarks in place.

Downer EDI Managing Director and Chief Executive, Geoff Know, says the contract is a significant win for the Downer Group.

"Melbourne’s tram network is one of the most significant tram systems in the world," Know says.

"Downer and Keolis are fully committed to working with the Victorian Government to deliver a world-class transport solution for Melbourne and its strategic transport objectives for the future."

KDR is bound by tough performance benchmarks for reliability and punctuality and will be fined up to $500,000 a month for poor performance.

Victorian Premier John Brumby says KDR has pledged to improve punctuality from 78 percent to 82 percent and reduce cancellations across the term of its contract.

If performance exceeds the target benchmarks of less 5 percent of services cancelled and more than 80 percent of services on time, the operator will receive a bonus.

KDR will partner with the government to introduce a fleet of 50 new low floor trams. It will spend $5 million to upgrade the tram fleet, beginning with a deep clean of all trams repairing damaged seats, removing graffiti and fixing vandalised doors.

Additionally KDR will complete a $9 million overhaul of the 33 Z-Class trams improving passenger comfort and increase activity to remove graffiti and litter on the tram and light rail network.

Brumby says safety will also be enhanced with an education campaign for pedestrians and passengers to take care on the tram network.

KDR will operate the tram network for eight years with a possible extension for another seven and receive an annual state subsidy of $97 million a year.

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky says the new franchise will deliver benefits on the tram network for many years to come and cater for the 178 million trips made on trams in the past financial year.

"The Yarra Trams name which is loved by many passengers and easily identified will remain when KDR takes control of the network," Kosky says.

"KDR will introduce a program of proactive maintenance to identify and tackle potential areas of concern before they affect tram operations. This will improve tram availability and service delivery, and allow for new services on the network.

"There are also new project agreements in the contracts, designed especially to support the increasing number of infrastructure projects the State is delivering on the network.

"As a result KDR will be involved earlier, and will actively participate in network planning and project development. This is a great, practical initiative, especially when working with an operator as internationally qualified as KDR."

KDR will take control of the tram network from Monday, November 30, 2009.

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