FirstGroup signs first US commuter rail contract

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FirstGroup plc welcomes the announcement by the Denton County Transportation Authority (‘DCTA’) Board of Directors that First Transit has been awarded the contract to operate and maintain the A-train commuter rail service.

The A-train is a 21-mile regional rail system connecting Denton and Dallas Counties in the state of Texas. DCTA has five A-train stations; two in Denton and three in Lewisville. The A-train also connects with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) at their Trinity Mills Station in Carrollton where passengers can transfer to the DART Green Line and gain access to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. First Transit and DCTA’s new contract agreement, which covers a period of nine years with an additional five-year option, will go into effect 1 October 2016, and will earn revenues of approximately USD9m per year.

First Transit already has a strong presence in the area through a transit management contract with DCTA. The Group’s First Student division operates buses in Lewisville within the same county, and the Greyhound division is headquartered in nearby Dallas. FirstGroup continues to explore opportunities for future growth which meet its criteria for returns and create long-term sustainable value, while ensuring focus on core operations. The US rail sector offers a number of potential opportunities in a market that is increasingly focused on outsourcing.

Commenting, Tim O’Toole, FirstGroup Chief Executive said:

“We are very pleased that the Denton County Transit Authority has awarded us the contract for A-train service; our first rail contract in North America. This contract for A-train service represents an exciting new development for the Group and we welcome the opportunity to develop and share our rail expertise with a progressive partner such as the Denton County Transportation Authority. Our US rail team blends our significant experience in rail in the UK with North American transit expertise in both rail and bus. We look forward to building on this success as we explore further opportunities in the sector.”

Jim Cline, DCTA President said:

“We’re excited to extend our partnership with First Transit to our A-train rail operations and maintenance. First Transit’s innovative solutions in rail infrastructure maintenance will enable us to provide enhanced rail services for the many communities we serve.”

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