M-1 Rail Seeking Operator for Detroit Streetcar

An artist's drawing of the Detroit street car line in operation.

An artist’s drawing of the Detroit street car line in operation.

A request for proposals has been issued for an operator to run Detroit’s 3.3-mile streetcar line that is under construction.

M-1 Rail, which is developing the line as part of a $140 million project, has scheduled a pre-proposal conference for March 13, with proposals due by April 16.

Contract talks with a preferred bidder are expected to occur in May with a contract signed in June.

The streetcar is expected to begin operations in December 2016.

The company that wins the contract will begin working with M-1 Rail at least a year in advance of the commencement of operations, said Paul Childs, M-1 Rail’s chief operating officer, in a news release.

The contractor “will be instrumental in developing processes and procedures for operations and fulfilling all of the obligations required by federal, state and city government agencies,” Childs said.

Contractor responsibilities will include hiring operators, scheduling and training employees; developing customer service standards; safety; fare collection; maintaining vehicles, track, switches, signals, platforms, substations, and overhead contact systems/charging bars; washing and cleaning vehicles; and report preparation.

The initial operating contract will be five years with M-1 Rail retaining the option to renew it for another two to five years.

M-1 Rail officials estimate the cost to operate the streetcar at $5 million annually.

“Passengers want a reliable, safe and clean experience and the operator of the line will be a catalyst for that,” Childs said.

When operational, the streetcar line will run along Woodward Avenue between Larned Street and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit.

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