The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) is likely to select French firm Keolis as its commuter rail operator.

According to the Boston Globe, the billion-dollar contract will soon be awarded to Keolis rather than the current operator the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. (MCBR).

"The next contract should have more ways to hold the vendor responsible."

For the past 11 years, MCBR has been maintaining and operating the MBTA’s commuter rail network. The existing $300m a year contract is scheduled to expire on 30 June.

MBTA Advisory Board executive director Paul Regan said: "The next contract should have more of what works and more ways to hold the vendor responsible and accountable for the service that they put out there under the transportation authority’s name."

MBTA’s commuter rail system transports about 70,000 workers on a daily basis to Rhode Island, Worcester, and the North Shore.

The proposed eight-year contract may also include multiple two-year options.

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By GlobalData

The board of directors, which govern the MBTA and the new Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), is likely to vote on 8 or 29 January, the news agency reported.

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said: "The MBTA commuter rail services contract procurement process is ongoing, and the process must be respected until it is completed."