Keolis ventures further into U.S. operations with new $130m contract
Keolis now totals 5,000 employees in the United States, operating and maintaining vehicles in 12 cities that carry 100 million passengers annually.
Keolis North America’s subsidiary, Keolis Transit America, has begun operating the Victor Valley network in San Bernardino County, Southern California. The company won the contract on 13 September, awarded by Victor Valley Transit Authority (VVTA), and began operations on 1 October.
A statement from Keolis says that the contract is worth approximately $130 million. The company will take on responsibility to maintain and operate Victor Valley’s 114-strong bus fleet. Among the fleet are 89 vehicles that run on natural gas and three that are electric. The fleet also includes two vans and 47 buses that are adapted to serve passengers with reduced mobility.
The contract runs for five years, with the option to extend it for an additional five years. It will increase the number of passengers Keolis carries across its global network by around 3 million a year. The operator will also be adding 240 employees to its workforce.
Keolis first entered the U.S. market in 2010 and is responsible for operating buses, commuter rail, on-demand transport, paratransit and autonomous electric vehicles.
Commenting on the new contract, Keolis Group International CEO Bernard Tabary said: “We are pleased to partner with VVTA and contribute our expertise in bus operations and maintenance from across the United States and Canada, as well as around the world. And we are particularly proud to have managed the handover in a short time of 17 days. Our aim is to provide Victor Valley residents and visitors with a reliable, safe and on-time service whilst introducing innovations which deliver tangible improvements to the passenger experience.”
The bus network of Victor Valley, located in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, covers 1,529km² and features 26 lines and two main transit centres. The network serves approximately 450,000 across the county.
“Here at VVTA we look forward to a long and successful partnership with Keolis,” said Kevin Kane, Executive Director at Victor Vally Transit. “VVTA is at the forefront of providing innovative mobility options to the High Desert communities and we feel Keolis is at the forefront of providing professional transit services that will meet and exceed our expectations.”