On-Time Performance

As operator of MBTA’s Commuter Rail system, Keolis is required to monitor and report the On-Time Performance (OTP) of every trip of every train on every line. This document defines OTP, explains how it is determined and provides information about how Keolis is held accountable for overall network performance.

When is a Commuter Rail train determined to be “on time”?

A train that reaches its final destination within 4 minutes and 59 seconds of its scheduled arrival time is considered to be on time. Under the terms of our contract with the MBTA, if a commuter rail train arrives late, is terminated or is cancelled, Keolis is assessed a pre-determined penalty. Such penalties can be waived by the MBTA if the cause of a delay/termination/cancellation is determined to be something beyond Keolis’ control or scope of responsibilities. Arrival times are reported through an automated system that also monitors the location of each train throughout the network.

How is OTP calculated on MBTA Commuter Rail?

Overall system OTP is calculated by taking the total number of scheduled trains, subtracting the number of trains that are late, terminated or cancelled, and then comparing the difference against the total number of scheduled trains to determine a percentage.

For example, if 100 trains are scheduled to operate on a given day and 2 trains are late and 1 is cancelled, then OTP for that day (97 of 100) would be 97%.  OTP is also calculated for each line. When 9 of 10 trains on the Haverhill Line are on-time, OTP is 90%. If 5 of 14 trains on the Fairmount Line are delayed, OTP is 64%.

How are penalties for delayed trains determined?

Under the terms of the contract between the MBTA and Keolis, a pre-determined penalty is assessed against Keolis whenever a train does not reach its destination on time. The contract requires Keolis to maintain a system-wide average OTP of 90% or better, although Keolis has made a commitment to the MBTA and the Commonwealth to operate at 92% or higher.

What is the difference between unadjusted and adjusted OTP?

Unadjusted OTP reflects the actual performance of the network, regardless of the reason for a delay or cancellation.

Under the terms of the contract, if train service is disrupted for an issue that is beyond Keolis’ control, the MBTA deducts those from the final “adjusted” OTP upon which the performance penalties are based. Examples of issues out of Keolis’ control include trespassers, fallen trees, unexpected freight traffic, police activity that requires trains to be halted, or network problems caused by another operator, such as Amtrak. Using the previous example of 100 trains, if 3 trains were late, but 1 of the delays was due to an Amtrak switch outage, then the “actual” OTP of 97% would be “adjusted” to an OTP of 98%.

Keolis Commuter Services operates and maintains the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s commuter rail system, carrying more than 127,000 passengers daily on 14 train lines throughout Greater Boston. KCS is a subsidiary of  Keolis North America, a leading provider of passenger transportation services throughout the U.S. and Canada.