Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) in the UK has awarded a contract to KeolisAmey to operate and maintain the city’s Metrolink light-rail network.

Prior to their appointment, TfGM conducted a competitive process, which involved three other shortlisted bidders and has been ratified by the Combined Authority leaders of Greater Manchester.

TfGM's committee chair councillor Andrew Fender said: “This appointment firmly reinforces our commitment to delivering the very best for passengers and to realising the full potential and benefits of the unprecedented growth and investment we are overseeing in the network.

“After investing so heavily in transforming infrastructure, this was always going to be a pivotal appointment without compromise. What we have here is a long-term, affordable commitment to providing a world-class service."

A fleet of 120 modern trams offering free Wi-Fi and the Trafford Park Line extension currently under construction will be taken over by KeolisAmey. The line is set to be in operation by 2020/2021.

"What we have here is a long-term, affordable commitment to providing a world-class service."

The new ten-year contract is set to start in July this year and will see completion of the Second City Crossing (2CC). It is also expected to create more than 300 jobs.

Greater Manchester's Mayor Tony Lloyd said: “It is vital that our transport infrastructure connects and supports the new homes and jobs we need, helps the local economy to flourish, and ensures residents can contribute to and benefit from our shared prosperity; and that is precisely what this new contract seeks to achieve.

“Greater Manchester’s transport Leaders have judged KeolisAmey on their plans for Metrolink, which are focused on improving reliability, customer service, and creating more customer-facing roles, such as drivers and customer service representatives.”

KeolisAmey is a joint venture partnership of UK public transport operator Keolis and infrastructure asset management specialist Amey.