Melbourne awards Metro Trains and KDR $7bn contract to operate train and tram networks
Melbourne’s government has granted Metro Trains and Yarra Trams, a subsidiary of Keolis Downer (KDR), a seven-year contract to run the city’s train and tram services.
The new train and tram contracts, worth AU$7bn, will deliver 700 new jobs including 375 apprenticeships.
The new franchise term commences on 30 November, amid a backdrop that has seen some call for the transport system to be taken into public ownership after a recent computer fault caused the entire network to grind to a halt.
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Passengers have said they want to see improved performance and these new contracts will crackdown on operational practices such as city-loop and station skipping, short running of trams, graffiti, poor communication and information and dirty trains and trams.
For the first time, Metro Trains will face a $10 million penalty if it does not achieve new higher maintenance standards in the first two and half years of the contracts.
The new contract will also ensure that it will be penalised up to $700,000 to compensate passengers if a network failure results in more than 50% of services cancelled or delayed by 30 minutes or more within a two hour period.
Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan commented: “Passengers have said that they want cleaner trains and stations, more reliable services, more timely and accurate information, less graffiti and scratching and that’s what these contracts will do.
“We’ve listened to passengers, staff and unions so that these new contracts hold MTM and KDR to account in delivering increased maintenance, better services and real time information.
“We’re fixing services now as well as making the biggest investment in public transport infrastructure in Victoria’s history by building the Metro Tunnel, removing 50 dangerous and congested level crossings and upgrading high capacity signalling.”
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.