USA: Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority has selected Transdev Services Inc to operate and maintain the Cincinnati Streetcar. Announcing the decision on July 6, SORTA Chair Jason Dunn said: ‘The contract is within the budget established by the City and meets the service levels in the Federal grant applications.’ Transdev has operated the New Orleans streetcar network since 2009.

SORTA launched a request for proposals in January, and required all bidders to submit proposals for both turnkey and management contracts. The former would see all staff provided by the contractor, whereas the latter would involve the participation of SORTA staff. Transdev placed the best-value bid using both methods, said SORTA, ahead of bids from Aecom-URS Energy & Construction, First Transit, Herzog Transit Services, RATP Dev/McDonald Transit.

The fixed-price turnkey contract covers a start-up period from late July to September 15 2016 worth $1·1m, a five-year base contract and five one-year optional extensions. The first year of operations from September 16 2016 is worth $3·27m, not including around $0·75m in costs to be borne by the city and SORTA. If all options are exercised, the contract would be worth $38·3m to Transdev.

Transdev will be responsible for operations, safety, rolling stock maintenance, and maintenance of track, power supply, stops and the depot. Transdev will assume the risk of any cost over-runs and must cover them within its fixed price.

Transdev expects that 26 new jobs will be created in management, operations and maintenance. The company is committed to at least 5·6% participation in the US Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the 5·8 km line with 18 stops took place in February 2012. CAF USA is supplying five three-section Urbos 3 trams, which are expected to be delivered later this year.