PARIS, 23-Aug-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — 7km of new track and a new depot were inaugurated on 15 August in ongoing upgrades to the highly successful Bybanen light rail network. In the six years since Keolis has operated Bybanen, the network has expanded from 9km to 20km and passenger numbers have doubled. Two more extensions are planned and will double the size of the network by 2026.
A NETWORK THAT HASN’T STOPPED GROWING SINCE 2010
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with 272,500 inhabitants. Since its launch in 2010, the light rail service called Bybanen has constantly expanded. The network currently transports 35,000 passengers a day, a figure that has doubled over the past six years and continues to rise.
To support this strong growth in patronage, in 2013 Keolis and Bergen’s public transport authority Skyss launched a 4.4km network extension and increased the number of operational employees by 80 percent. This allowed for an enhanced four-minute service frequency during peak hours and longer network operating hours; from 5.45am to midnight from Monday to Thursday, and until 4am from Friday to Sunday.
As a result the network has experienced a consistently high customer satisfaction rate of between 95 and 99 percent.
These very encouraging results and Keolis’ strong partnership with Skyss resulted in a one-year extension of its operations contract until June 2018, with the possibility of a further one-year extension.
A NEW DEPOT AND NETWORK EXTENSION, PARTLY FINANCED BY CITY TOLLS
Today a new phase of network upgrades is complete with the opening of a new state-of-the-art depot with capacity for up to 40 vehicles and an additional 7km of track. Eight new trams, each 42m long and able to carry up to 280 passengers, will be added to the fleet as part of the upgrade. By the end of 2017, the fleet’s 20 existing trams will be extended to increase their passenger capacity.
These fleet improvements are designed to cater for the expected 13 percent increase in network patronage as a result of the latest network extension and the addition of two stops to the airport in the second quarter of 2017.
These network investments have been funded by Skyss, and were in part financed by revenue received from city tolls. Indeed Bergen was the first European city to introduce a city toll in 1986.
Skyss has already planned two more network extensions, first by 9km then by 12km, in order to double the size of the tram network by 2026.
MORE LIGHT RAIL PROJECTS TO COME IN SCANDINAVIA
Keolis is currently working to deliver a new light rail network in Aarhus, Denmark, the country’s second largest city with 250 000 inhabitants. The network will run to the city-centre and become a “tram-train” service on the outskirts of Aarhus, reaching speeds of up to 100km/h. The 98km network is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2017.
Keolis is one of the world’s leading public transport operators. The company is majority owned (70%) by the French state railway SNCF, the other shareholder being Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). Present in 16 countries* with 56,000 employees, Keolis develops tailored mobility solutions (automatic metros, tramways, trains, buses, coaches, ferries, self-service bicycles) adapted to local environments. The Group offers solutions and services via its subsidiary, Kisio. It is also the second leading car park operator in France thanks to its subsidiary EFFIA. In 2015, Keolis transported 3 billion passengers and generated 5 billion euros in revenue.
*Originally established in France, Keolis has expanded its operations to Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Middle East, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, UK and USA.
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SOURCE: Keolis Group