Bernard Tabary, CEO International of Keolis Group reports on Keolis presence and activities in Shanghai  

Keolis has been contributing to the transformation of mobility in the Shanghai region since 2014 via three emblematic projects:

  • Shanghai’s first automated metro inaugurated in March 2018
  • The new Songjiang tram network opened in December 2018 and scheduled for completion in mid-2019
  • The new rapid transit metro at Shanghai Pudong International Airport due to open in September 2019.

The public transport offer in China has experienced exponential growth in recent years with high-speed rail lines, metros and trams changing the way people travel and delivering tangible benefits to the country’s economy and environment.

Shanghai Keolis’ activity in China exemplifies the vitality of the country’s transport sector, notably thanks to the recent launches of the city’s first automated metro line, and the Songjiang tram line – one of the first in the country. 

Rail lines across China

Addressing the mobility needs of some 1.3 billion residents has seen the addition of 19,000 kilometres of high-speed rail lines and 183 metro lines in the space of the last decade. New tram lines are also arriving in China, bringing with them the benefits linked to a diversified public transport offer with an environmentally friendly transport mode.

The country currently has a dozen tram networks which are mostly used for tourism purposes with low passenger numbers. In Songjiang, a district in the southwest of Shanghai with 1.8 million residents, a tram network project was initiated by the Songjiang Transportation Committee in 2014.

Their aim was to reinforce a public transport network which consisted largely of buses and reduce the use of personal cars by offering a quick and efficient connection to residential, shopping and business zones, schools and universities and transport hubs including high-speed train and metro stations.

Global vision

Keolis is a global leader in tram operations with 985.5 kilometres of lines worldwide serving 25 networks including one of the world’s oldest networks in Melbourne, the UK’s largest network in Manchester and Denmark’s first light rail network in Aarhus.

In August 2018, the Songjiang Transportation Committee entrusted the tram network project to Shanghai Keolis, a joint venture (JV) between Shanghai Shentong Metro Group and Keolis (Shanghai Shentong Metro Group holds 51 per cent with Keolis holding 49 per cent). The contract covers the operations and maintenance of the network for a period of five years and, once fully operational in mid-2019, we expect to transport 170,000 passengers over 31 kilometres of tram lines on a daily basis.

In the months leading up to the launch of the tram network in December 2018, the JV recruited and trained 248 people according to Keolis’ operational excellence standards in domains including operations, maintenance, customer relations and safety.

Tram drivers followed a training programme at the Suzhou Tram Training Centre in order to obtain their ‘P’ licence required for drivers of trams in China. The group then organised a series of training sessions with French experts from Keolis networks focused on specific topics including offering passengers assistance during their journeys.

Shanghai trams

Preparation for operations also included drawing up rules and regulations, the organisational structure, emergency planning, testing of the system and expertise review.

This work led to the successful opening of a first 13.9-kilometre long section of the network serving 20 stations on 26th December 2018 with a new 17.1-kilometre section scheduled to open in mid-2019.

The Alstom-built Citadis model trams in use currently run every ten minutes, from 6am to 10.30pm. In mid-2019 when the network is complete, the operating hours of the network will be extended with trams running every ten minutes from 5am to 11pm.

With a 705-kilometre long network, 395 stations and 17 lines, Shanghai already has the largest metro network in the world but intends to reinforce the public transport offer with the expanded tram network.

By 2020 an additional 800 kilometres of tram lines will serve urban areas including the districts of Minghang and Jiading. The Songjiang tram project constitutes a significant milestone in both the expansion of the tram network and the enduring partnership between Keolis Group and Shanghai Shentong Metro Group to address growing urban mobility needs.

With the metro and now the tram, we are immensely proud to contribute to the deployment of comfortable, reliable and environmentally friendly mobility solutions on offer to the residents and visitors of Shanghai.

Bernard Tabary is CEO International of Keolis Group