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Serco loses DLR operations to Keolis Amey

Serco, the operator of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) since 1997, has been beaten in the competition to run it until 2021 by the Keolis Amey joint venture.

It will be paid more than £700m over the contract period, not counting performance-related bonuses or deductions. Keolis Amey Docklands beat Serco and Stagecoach, while a Go-Ahead/Colas JV dropped out before the end of the procurement competition.

The contract begins on 7 December and runs until April 2021, with an option for this to be extended until 2023.

The new operator will have to ensure that the passengers making 100 million journeys a year on the DLR “continue to see improvements to their service”, TfL said.

Its punctuality record is excellent, usually 99%-plus on a three-minute delay measure. TfL said: “The focus for the new franchise will therefore be to maintain this performance in the context of delivering more services to meet growing demand in east London.”

Managing director of London Underground and Rail, Mike Brown, said: “The DLR is a rail network that continues to support regeneration across a huge area of London and the economic growth of the city as a whole. Its connectivity with the rest of the transport network, and its potential to connect jobs and unlock opportunities, is also set to increase further when we start to operate the Crossrail services that will interchange with it in a few years’ time.

“The decision to appoint Keolis Amey Docklands was reached after a thorough and competitive procurement process, which will ensure the DLR continues to deliver an ever-improving high quality, value for money service for Londoners well into the future. I would also like to thank Serco for their support since 1997 in helping make the DLR the success story it is today.”

The DLR began operating in 1987, with 11 trains serving 15 stations and in its first year of operation it carried 6.7m people. Today the railway – which is entirely step-free – has 45 stations, 38km of track and 149 carriages and during the 2013/14 year, it carried a record 101m passengers.

Alistair Gordon, chief executive of Keolis UK, said: “This win is a major achievement for Keolis and we are delighted to be working with Amey and DLRL to deliver the next chapter in the successful history of the DLR. As the world’s largest operator of light rail networks Keolis looks forward to using our global expertise to enhance one of the capital’s iconic public transport networks and we will work closely with all stakeholders to deliver a world class service both during this franchise and beyond for London.”

Mel Ewell, chief executive for Amey, added: “Keolis’ global experience combined with Amey’s UK rail and asset management expertise will deliver a specialist service that provides value and ensures London’s travelling public experiences a reliable and high quality service.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]

(Image: TfL)


Mike   04/07/2014 at 12:45

The problem with today's politics and business, is that they interfere with and disturb a reliable working formula. I'm old school and firmly believe in the term, "If it works, then leave it alone". 99%+ reliability is fantastic. I have relied on the DLR myself for commutting and the problem was overcrowding, selfish passengers holding doors open and passengers trying to squeeze on the train with their bags and backsides hanging out preventing doors from closing. I'd like to know what the fierce competition was over. What could Amey offer that Serco could not? How cheaper were Amey in the bidding than Serco? What guarantees have Amey made that they can improve or maintain reliability. I really really really believe that Amey will not perform. It is basically just a name change with all existing staff transferring over under TUPE. I have personal experience of Amey and penny pinching where they have taken over projects. I suspect the same will occur with DLR and performance will be hit. If it does, TFL will be constantly apologising. Serco should have maintained their contract just based on performance.

Jak Jaye   04/07/2014 at 16:39

Just one bunch of cowboys being replaced by another,the above letter says it all

Mick   05/07/2014 at 21:17

If the figures that are being published are true then why would TFL award a contract to a company who didn't offer the best price in comparisson to the incumbent operator who's offer was cheaper? Oh and by the way, the existing operator reports service and punctuality figures that are in excess of 99% at the moment in any case so there is virtually no room for improvement on what is already a fantastic service for the travelling public. TFL / DLR obviously just fancied a change rather than awarding a new franchise contract for a third term to Serco but once the new management try and put their stamp on the existing staff then morale will drop and so will the service results. But that will only give Keolis / Amey the license to play politics as they will turn round at that time and say 'oh but you have to understand the mess we picked up was this that and the next thing', all utter balderdash. Just on the default numbers game, this new deal doesn't give TFL / DLR value for money and it's a scandal that Keolis / Amey have been awared this contract, albeit that there's three weeks of final contract details to be concluded before the process is complete but we all know how the next three weeks are going to go. I completely agree with the first comment, if it's not broken then don't fix it. And secondly, this doesn't represent value for money.

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