Leo Express wins PSO contract to operate Bratislava – Komárno services

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The private operator beat ŽSSK and Yosaria Trains in the final round of the tender.

Private Czech operator Leo Express has won an OSP tender to operate regional trains in western Slovakia from the capital Bratislava to Dunajská Streda and Komárno.

Seven operators submitted bids for the contract, with Leo Express, Slovak national operator ŽSSK and Yosaria Trains reaching the final round of the bidding process.

The nine-year contract will run from December 10, 2023, but it may be brought forward to December 11, 2022 if agreed with ŽSSK who currently operate the service.

“Besides price, quality criteria such as number of seats, air-conditioned trains, toilets and low-floor rolling stock contributed to the decision,” says Slovak Transport Minister Andrej Doležal. “I think passengers will be satisfied with the new operator and its services. Based on the recommendation of the evaluation committee, we will offer Leo Express the possibility of transporting passengers between Bratislava and Komárno from December 11, 2022.”

Services on the non-electrified line are currently operated by ŽSSK and the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) using ÖBB Class 2016 diesel locomotives hauling four cars in push-pull formation. Leo Express plans to introduce Alstom Lint 41 DMUs on the line.

Before being replaced by ŽSSK in 2019, the route was previously operated for 10 years by RegioJet under a PSO contract, using more modern rolling stock including Talent and Desiro DMUs. This led to an increase in passenger numbers, which eventually necessitated the introduction of locomotive-hauled double-decker coaches.

The new contract is the first win for Leo Express in the Slovak PSO market, with the operator already operating its own self-service services from Prague to Prešov and Košice in eastern Slovakia using five-car Stadler Flirt EMUs .

The Ministry of Transport issued a tender for the Bratislava – Komárno operating contract in early 2021, but ŽSSK was the only bidder whose bid exceeded the tender budget, prompting the department to revive the contract.

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