By David Pendered
Editors note: This story has been corrected to reflect the anticipated start of passenger service on April 30, 2014.
Representatives of six transit operating companies that want to run the Atlanta Streetcar took a walking tour of the route Thursday.
The companies attended a pre-proposal conference conducted by MARTA to introduce the streetcar to the market of companies that have expressed an interest in operating and maintaining the service through March 2018. Bids are due June 28.
MARTA intends for the contract operator of the streetcar to start work around Sept. 15. Passenger service is anticipated to begin on April 30, 2014, according to a schedule included in the request for proposals.
A group of 27 representatives attended the meeting, according to the sign-in sheet.
They included, in addition to those from the six transit companies, representatives of an engineering firm, the company that built the streetcars, and a recruiting/management consulting firm.
A seventh person signed in as the director of bus operations of a firm listed only as WBDS. The closest match of that name available on Hoovers is WBDS Cornerstone, which Hoovers lists as an excavator in Texas.
Also represented were the city of Atlanta, MARTA and Central Atlanta Progress – the three entities that have pooled resources to build and operate the streetcar.
The six companies that sent representatives include:
- First Transit. The company operates more than 11,000 vehicles nationwide and in May won a transit contract from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
- HTSI, which is Herzog Transit Services, Inc. The company operates transit systems in five states, including California, North Carolina and New Jersey.
- Keolis America Transit. The company is the U.S. operating division of a Canadian firm founded in 1999 and has operated in the U.S. since 2010, when it took over the Virginia Railway Express. In February, the company won a contract to operate the larger of two bus transit systems in Las Vegas.
- RDMT, which is an affiliate of parent company RATP. RDMT recently won a contract to operate the Tucson tramway.
- Vectour. The company was registered in Georgia on May 29 as Vectour Transportation, Inc. The two officers who signed the attendance log were Reggie Haslam, Sr. and Reginald Haslam, Jr. The elder Haslam is the founder of Haslam Coach, in Atlanta, in 1977 and a co-founder of International Trailways, LLC, in Birmingham, in 2007, according to a report in blog.al.com
- Veolia Transportation. The affiliate of a French company operates bus systems in metro Atlanta and was identified in March by MARTA union leaders as a firm they suspect may win significant contracts if MARTA privatizes some functions as part of a cost-savings program.
The other firms who sent representatives are URS, Siemens, and Pragmatek/DHG.