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Milwaukee streetcar gets an operator

Milwaukee officials have selected an operator for the city’s new streetcar.

Ghassan Korban, commissioner of the city’s Department of Public Works, wrote in a letter sent to members of an ad-hoc committee overseeing the $124 million streetcar project that the city had chosen Lombard, Ill.-based Transdev Services Inc. to be the operator.

The contract between the city and Transdev went into effect in August and runs through December 2023. The city has an option to extend the contract by two to five years if it chooses. The contract is expected to cost the city about $3.6 million a year.

Korban noted that Transdev currently operates New Orleans’ streetcar, the largest such service in the U.S., as well as 21 other fixed-rail systems worldwide. The management team assigned to run Milwaukee’s streetcar has worked on other streetcar systems in Detroit, Cincinnati and Atlanta.

“We are confident that Transdev will be an excellent operator of The Milwaukee Streetcar and offers the
experience and know-how needed to make the system an unqualified success,” wrote Korban.

Construction is now underway on Milwaukee’s streetcar. Officials expect work on both an initial downtown loop and lakefront line extension to wrap up by the end of 2018. In the meantime, Transdev will come up with policies and operating procedures needed for the service, hire and train operations personnel and perform tests.

Once the streetcar is up and running, Transdev will be responsible for maintenance and day-to-day operations, which includes hiring and training staff; operating and maintaining vehicles; and maintaining the service’s track, platforms and support systems.

Transdev is also bringing on Pennsylvania-based Brookville Equipment Corp., a company hired to build Milwaukee’s streetcar vehicles. Brookville will serve as a subcontractor performing vehicle maintenance.

Transdev was one of five qualified firms from the U.S. and Europe to submit a bid to operate Milwaukee’s streetcar.

About Alex Zank, alex.zank@dailyreporter.com

Alex Zank is a construction reporter for The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1820.

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