Four operators have been shortlist to take over Manchester’s Metrolink light rail network from 2017.
KeolisAmey, National Express, Transdev and incumbent RATP Dev have all pre-qualified to bid to operate and maintain the system for 10 years when the current contract ends.
In 2017, Metrolink will celebrate its 25th birthday. The anniversary also coincides with the opening of the Second City Crossing.
Around 32 million passengers use the Metrolink network every year.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) will issue an invitation to tender in early 2016. If all goes as planned, the contract will be signed in January 2017.
TfGM’s chief executive Dr Jon Lamonte said: “This is a truly exciting time for TfGM and the people of Greater Manchester and we are looking for a partner to work with us and realise the full benefits of the unprecedented growth and investment we are seeing across Metrolink.
“I am in no doubt that this is an excellent opportunity to take over the controls of the largest tram network in the country, an established Greater Manchester icon, and a symbol of Greater Manchester’s ardent ambition and appetite for growth.”