Keolis, a French based train operator ‘committed to sustainable transport and connectivity,’ have been granted a further six year contract to run their trains on the Transport en Commun Lyonnais (TCL) network. This decision was made after 24 months of planning by Le Syndicat mixte des transports pour le Rhône et l'agglomération lyonnaise (SYTRAL)’s union of local government in Lyon. The contract will be officially signed in the coming weeks by Annie Guillemot, SYTRAL’s Chairwoman, and Jean-Pierre Farandou, Keolis’ Chairman, as Keolis aim to acheive the ambitious targets that SYTRAL have outlined for them. SYTRAL are responsible for planning and reconstructing new routes and believe that Keolis will be able to improve their policy to increase rail capacity in the region.
Keolis are already in charge of the Lyon's metro, streetcars, buses and shuttles. They have been running their trains on the TCL tracks, but the deal will secure them an additional €2.2 billion revenue over the coming six years. They are owned by both SNCF and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and made approximately €5 billion worth in revenue last year; €33 million profit. For the next six years, the funds allocated for the network are €1.4 billion and the value of assets under management are over €4 billion.
TCL branches out to the whole Lyonnaise region catering for 1.7 million journeys every day operating as the largest national transport network outside of Paris. Despite this, the line has the highest number of average journeys per person - 350 trips per year. This success is not only felt financially by the rail operator but also by its passengers. Keolis’ operational efficiency combined with their rail expertise helped them secure this deal. The French rail firm claim to have a customer focused culture offering mobility solutions and better connections. Under the new agreement, it is hoped that passengers will experience even better connectivity and the trains themselves will make improvements in sustainable and accessible mobility.
Obviously, Keolis hope to enhance the network’s financial objectives. Fare evasion is always an issue for train operators and on the TCL network these costs were the equivalent of 40 buses, four trams or one metro train. However, over the course of ten years, fare evasion has dropped by 18% to 10%. Keolis is keen to introduce innovative and effective ways to manage costs. In 2013, Keolis Lyon introduced advanced ticketing checks to guarantee that passengers would be holding a ticket. SYTRAL’s additional investment of €150 million per year into the network will also help improve the current service offered to passengers in their bid to reduce car journeys to 40% by 2022.
Commenting on the renewal, Keolis Chairman Jean-Pierre Farandou said: “I’m delighted by the trust SYTRAL’s governing committee has unanimously bestowed on us. It confirms Keolis’ standing as transport experts capable of operating a high performance urban network, combining all modes of transport, and of innovating – as demonstrated by the recent launch at Confluence of the Navly driverless electric shuttles.”
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