The company hired by the MBTA to take over operation of its commuter rail line four months ago has been fined a total of $804,000 – $434,000 for failing to meet contractual requirements for on-time performance rates and $370,000 for other issues, such as station and train cleanliness – according to transit officials.
According to MBTA documents, Keolis Commuter Services has regularly fallen short of its goal of being on time 95 percent of the time. A train is considered “on-time” if it rolls into the station within five minutes of its scheduled arrival time.
Last month, commuter trains were on-time about 85 percent of the, compared to 90 percent of the time in October 2013, when the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail maintained operation of the trains.Keolis was punctual 88 percent of the time in both July and August, and nearly reached its goal in September, when it had an on-time performance of 92 percent.
According to MBTA Spokeswoman Kelly Smith,transitpersonnel meet regularly with Keolisofficialsto talk about their performance, and how it can be improved.
“Only four months into an eight year contract, it’s far too early to draw any conclusions,” Smith said in an email. “As everyone knows, the previous Commuter Rail operator experienced a number of highs and lows over the term of its contract.”
“[Keolis] is well aware of the areas on which they need to focus, and the MBTA is confident that they will continue to make progress in achieving the highest quality of customer service that every commuter deserves,” said Smith.
Keolis took control of the commuter rail on July 1 under an eight-year, $2.7 billion contract.
Keolis Spokesman Mac Daniel said in an email that October was a “disappointing month” for the company and its passengers.
“But we’re determined to improve. In the first three months of service, we equaled the best [on-time-performance] in the past five years, but October set us back,” Daniel said. “Everyone at Keolis and the MBTA, from our engineering and mechanical staff to customer service, is working very hard to improve on-time performance system wide, and were dedicated to get our passengers where they need to go safely and on time in the months and years to come.”
Keolis was expected to present their quarterly report at Wednesday’s board meeting.
Waiting at South Station during evening rush hour, college student Tommy Bruzzese said that while he’s usually satisfied with the Providence/Stoughton Line’s on-time performance, the commuter rail could do better.
“Most of my friends have complained. The train before mine is usually really slow,” said Bruzzese.
Nearby, Franklin Line commuter Paul Friun listened to music on his iPod, seemingly unaware of any commuter rail issues.
“If it’s five minutes late, I don’t notice,” he said. “But it’s good that they are fining [Keolis], as they should.”