caltrain.jpgCaltrain’s Board of Directors Thursday approved a five-year contract with TransitAmerica to run its train system, ending a 19-year partnership with Amtrak.

Caltrain officials said that after an extensive bidding process, TransitAmerica’s bid was the highest ranking in its cost proposal, the qualifications of the company’s staff, and its operations and maintenance plans.

“We made an important business decision to go to the marketplace and seek new ideas, new energy and new approaches to how the rail operations contract was administered and performed,” Caltrain executive director Michael Scanlon said in a statement.

Amtrak will continue to run the train system during a five-month transition period, officials said.

For the first full year of the contract, Caltrain will pay TransitAmerica $59.5 million, according to Caltrain officials. Subsequent contract amounts will be subject to annual negotiations.

“While the contribution of Amtrak to the Caltrain service has been significant, today’s decision was about the future of the system, and TransitAmerica provided the most effective plan for providing service to our riders,” Caltrain board chairman Sean Elsbernd said in a statement.

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