BOSSES at Wearside transport giant Arriva Abba lot to smile about.
The Doxford International-based firm has been awarded the contract for the first phase of Sweden’s largest integrated public transport tender.
The 12-year contract – called E20 – was awarded by the regional transport authority Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL).
It doubles Arriva’s operations in Sweden, seeing it provide an additional 94million passenger journeys a year through combining bus and rail services into integrated public transport networks.
After the formal launch in Stockholm, SL and Arriva employees handed out 15,000 red roses to bus and rail passengers to encourage the contribution of ideas on how to improve transport services.
The passenger who provides the best idea will be rewarded with free passenger transport in Stockholm for seven years.
In addition to its existing bus and rail operations, from today Arriva will run the Nockebybanan tram line in the western suburbs of Stockholm; the Lidingöbanan light rail system which operates to Lidingö island, and more than 250 buses in Bromma, Sollentuna, Solna and Sundbyberg.
The first phase of the contract includes 1,100 employees, 255 buses and 82 trams/light trains and will see the firm deliver 61million passenger journeys a year.
The second phase begins in January, and will see the number of employees involved rise to 2,020 employees, with 484 buses, and 183 trams/light trains, delivering an additional 33million passenger journeys a year.
David Evans, managing director of Arriva’s mainland Europe division, said: “Stockholm’s transport system will lead the way in integrated travel and we are excited to be playing a pivotal role.
“By providing joined-up services that are easy to use, and which take people where they need to go, we aim to increase train and bus patronage in Stockholm. We will focus on improving each element of our customers’ journeys.
“Our operational expertise in Sweden and wider experience across 12 countries in delivering passenger transport contracts has been drawn upon as we have worked to introduce phase one of the contract.
“Our teams of people in Sweden and across the wider Arriva group have worked tremendously hard on a very detailed mobilisation process to ensure a smooth start for our employees, passengers and SL.
“We’re focused on delivering the commitments we made in our bid: high quality transport services which meet passenger requirements and the expectations of SL.”