AUSTIN (KXAN) — The CapMetro board of directors approved Monday a nearly $753.7 million contract with Keolis Transit Services, LLC for bus maintenance and operations, following concerns voiced by union members.
Keolis will oversee CapMetro’s fixed-route bus operations and maintenance — specifically, its MetroRapid and MetroBus services. The contractor will also manage the transit agency’s current 1,212 bargaining employees along with its 36 operations, safety and general management personnel.
MV Transportation, Inc. had been CapMetro’s fixed-route contractor, working with the Austin transit authority for more than a decade. On Monday, MV’s chief customer success officer, Gary Coles, expressed his gratitude for more than a decade of service to Austin alongside disappointment over the contract’s awarding to Keolis.
He said as a “minority-started, Texas-based, American-owned company,” the decision to pivot from MV to Keolis hurt. However, he thanked all the CapMetro’s staff and board members for the ability to serve in Austin for more than a decade, as well as commended CapMetro employees for their commitment to the city’s transit users.
Darrell Sorrells, vice president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1091, condemned the contract proposal prior to Monday’s vote. He said he was extremely disappointed in CapMetro’s selection of Keolis as contractor, citing unfair labor practice charges involving the company.
David Scorey, president and CEO of Keolis North America, spoke Monday and said the company recognizes the value and importance of unions, citing his previous involvement as a trade union member. He said Keolis wants to find a common ground and have “productive relationships” with unions and will work to do so.