Keolis has won two contracts for the suburban transport network in the Alpes-Maritimes (France) with the launch of a fleet of full-electric vehicles by 2023. What is more, the fleet is not operating in an urban environment: it is the first electrification pledge in France to involve a suburban bus network. Keolis gives also specification about manufacturers of the e-buses. According to the information made public, a fleet of «Yutong and BYD double- decker coaches and Heuliez buses» will deployed.
The eight-year contracts, which come into effect on 1 January 2022, will generate nearly 260 million euros in revenue. The two sections feature a fleet of 120 buses and coaches and include 17 lines: three high-frequency lines, two airport services, and 12 regular services.
Electric buses on a suburban bus network
In addition to increasing service frequency by 30%, Keolis will be responsible for helping the region in its fight against climate change, primarily by deploying a more sustainable mobility offer, which will involve converting the network’s entire bus fleet to electric by 1 July 2023, the first pledge of its kind in France to involve a suburban bus network. An enhanced, better connected transport system for passengers
On 23 July 2021, Région Sud, the interurban transport authority, awarded Keolis Alpes- Maritimes the public service delegation contract for two sections of its regional road transport network – known as ZOU ! – for a period of eight years, starting 1 January 2022.
Keolis operating buses in Provence
Previously responsible for operating part of these two sections, Keolis will now operate and maintain them in their entirety. The entire fleet for these two sections is composed of 120 vehicles (buses and coaches) and includes some double-deckers. With 17 lines, the two sections of the network connect the region’s major cities (Cannes, Nice, Grasse and Antibes) and serve a population of almost 740,000 inhabitants, along the coast and around the Grasse inland area, as well as several business parks and tourism hubs, such as Nice-Côte d’Azur international airport and Sophia-Antipolis technology park, home to over 2,500 businesses.
Keolis announces it will make several improvements, such as increasing service frequency, ensuring greater complementarity with TER regional train networks and urban services, creating weekend offers on some lines, and allowing bicycles on board certain coaches.
Within the framework of this new contract, Keolis will implement a number of actions designed to increase service frequency by 30% to seven million journeys a year.
Keolis to convert the fleet by 2023
Renaud Muselier, President of the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Vice President of Régions de France, is pushing for considerably more sustainable mobility in the region, in line with his intention to make the environment and the climate emergency one of the priorities of his “Gardons une COP d’avance” (staying a COP ahead) regional climate plan, which aims to reduce transport’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. In a first of its kind in France, Keolis says in its press note that it «has committed to supporting Région Sud’s ambition by rolling out a fleet of full-electric vehicles by July 2023 composed of Yutong and BYD double- decker coaches and Heuliez buses».
The Group will also be responsible for financing the entire investment in rolling stock and charging facilities, converting two depots to electric and applying for ISO 14001 certification for all Keolis Alpes-Maritimes activities.