Greater Wellington Regional Council has selected a joint venture of Transdev and Hyundai Rotem as preferred bidder to operate suburban rail services.

NEW ZEALAND: Greater Wellington Regional Council announced the selection of a joint venture between Transdev and Hyundai Rotem as preferred bidder for a contract to operate the capital’s suburban rail services on December 17. Formal award is planned for March.

A Keolis Downer-KiwiRail joint venture and Serco had also been shortlisted for the contract, which will run for 15 years from July 1 2016

Transdev currently operates train services in Auckland, while Hyundai Rotem supplied the 1·5 kV DC Matangi EMUs used in Wellington. According to a council statement, the jobs of 400 TranzMetro staff who currently run Wellington’s metro rail service and maintain the new Matangi trains would be preserved with the new operator obliged to offer employment to those staff on the same or better conditions.

Council chair Chris Laidlaw said the rail deal was the first of a series of new performance-based contracts for train, bus and ferry services, with operators incentivised to increase patronage through improved services.