Four years after work began, the extension of the Bordeaux tram line A between Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport and the city centre was inaugurated on 29 April 2023.

The new section, approximately 5 km long, is separated from the Quatre – Chemins stop and includes four new stops in addition to the terminus: Mérignac Soleil, Chemin long, Cadéra Issartier and Caroline Aigle. The € 95 million extension is of strategic importance for the city’s mobility; the airport can now be reached from the centre of Bordeaux in less than 35 minutes, and the Autopark and Merignac Soleil shopping centres and the Cadera park are also served. The new tram terminus is located next to the terminal, opposite the Express car park, near Pavilion B.

Bordeaux’s tram network

The A line is part of a network of 4 lines, covering 77 km, plus the 5 km of the new A line branch. Inaugurated in 2003, for the capital of the New Aquitaine region, it was also a return of the tramway, which was discontinued in 1958 after 78 years of operation. As with other French cities, the modern tram was considered competitive for sustainable mobility and between 2003 and 2004, the first three lines, A,B,C, were opened, while in 2011, line D was inaugurated. The success with the public was almost immediate, and between 2006 and 2008 the lines in service underwent major extensions, with 35 new stops (14 on the A line, 11 on the B, 10 on the C), as well as the creation of 15 interchange car parks, both in Bordeaux and in the neighbouring municipalities touched by the tram lines, for a total of 5,000 parking spaces.

Trams now travel most of the way in reserved lanes, some of which are covered with turf, so as to reduce the maximum noise emission to less than 80 decibels. The stop platforms are at least 46 metres long, necessary to accommodate the high-capacity rolling stock that now makes up most of the fleet, consisting of 12 Citadis 302s, 33 metres long, delivered by Alstom between 2002 and 2005, and 118 Citadis 402s, 44 metres long, also delivered by Alstom between 2002 and 2020. With 130 vehicles, Bordeaux Metropole Transport’s tram fleet is now, after Paris, the largest in France. Citizens immediately appreciated the comfort of the new Citadis, and the tram service soon became the main and most used mode of transport in Bordeaux.

Info about Line A

Line A is made up of a common central section and 4 peripheral branches corresponding to as many terminuses. The common section, between Quatre – Chemins and Buttiniere, is travelled in about 47 minutes, the branch to the airport in only 11 minutes.

On weekdays from Monday to Friday between 6.30 a.m. and 8.30 p.m., there is a service every 3 to 5 minutes in each direction, while on Saturdays and Sundays a frequency of 5 to 8 minutes is maintained, but starting at 1.30 p.m. Before 6.30 a.m. and after 8.30 p.m., passes are scheduled every 10 minutes on average. The service starts at 5.00 a.m. from all four terminuses and ends around midnight, on Saturdays at 1.00 a.m.

The figures give an idea of the impressiveness of the service, with more than 30 high-capacity trams on the line. The new line complements the already excellent tram service in Bordeaux, which handled almost 97 million passengers in 2018 alone.


Highlights

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