But despite a yearlong process during which the T searched for companies to compete for the commuter rail contract, only two of the 25 companies that expressed initial interest finally agreed to bid.
In addition to Mass. Bay, the other bidder is Keolis America Inc., a subsidiary of a French company that ranks among the world’s largest commuter rail companies, with contracts in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“There are only two bidders and the consensus seems to be that the result is preordained — that a lot of the potential bidders think the current operator is so politically connected it doesn’t make sense for them to bid,” Alvaro said. “If you believe in your heart there is no chance of winning — that’s why we didn’t get more bids. I had hoped for at least four or five.”
If he is reappointed, Alvaro said, he can fairly judge the two bids, including Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail’s.
“I don’t have any personal acrimony toward MBCR,’’ Alvaro said. “It’s not a personal vendetta.” Nevertheless, he said, he understands that some may regard him as being prejudiced against the company.
“Remember, there’s a lot of bucks involved here — the new contract will be billions of dollars,” he said.
Clarification: A page one story on the Massachusetts Transportation Board published on Wednesday may have given the impression that the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail system continues to experience chronic delays and air conditioning problems. In fact, the rail company’s on-time performance has improved since the winter of 2010-11 and air conditioner break downs have not been an issue for several years.
Sean Murphy can be reached at email@example.com.