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David Pendered

Atlanta Streetcar attracts firms interested in contract to start service April 30, 2014; bids due June 28

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.

Atlanta Streetcar prototype

This is a prototype of the vehicle that will serve the Atlanta BeltLine and Atlanta Streetcar systems. Credit: File/City of Atlanta

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.


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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  1. flyingember May 31, 2013 5:51 pm

    60 seconds of Google tells me that WBDS is probably this company.  look at their location and what they do
    Woodstock, GAReport

  2. Wish for MIlton County May 31, 2013 8:51 pm

    Oh Joy!!  A $60 – $90 million dollar boon doogle going from Centinnial Park to nowhere and back.  Now comes the overpriced management contract with all the associated graft, minority contracts, union contracts and the like.  We will need to see who is actually behind the bids.  I bet it is the A list of the Atlanta Political class.
    HOW MUCH IS THIS GOING TO COST THE TAXPAYERS PER YEAR????  Estimated ridership counts I have seen are ridiculious.  MARTA looses 20% of its revenue by people scamming their system.  
    What happens when this thing is a flop?  Who do we blame.? Who do we send to jail?
    Didn’t the T-SPLOT vote sink into anyones head down in Atlanta or the CAPITOL!!!  STOP WASTING THE TAXPAYERS MONEY ON THIS CR*P!Report


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