A French-Japanese consortium has won a contract for the operation and maintenance of the Dubai Metro as well as the operation of the Dubai Tram. The contract covers 15 years (9 base years and 6 renewable years) and amounts to approximately Dhs 542 million per year. The consortium consists of three companies namely Keolis, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, and Mitsubishi Corporation.
The award of the contract follows a public tender released by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in which four consortia and international firms specialised in rail operation and maintenance took part. Proposals made were analysed, and the contract was awarded to the French-Japanese consortium for submitting the best technical and financial proposals. Earlier, UK-based Serco Group was operating and maintaining the Dubai Metro and Tram. Serco was initially given 10-year contract when the Dubai Metro launched operation in 2009 and the contract was extended for another two years in September 2019.
Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, remotely signed the contract on behalf of RTA. Keolis Group CEO Marie-Ange Debon, Aki Heiko Nozaka, Director of Investment and Services at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, and Toru Kimura, General Manager of Mitsubishi Corporation, signed on behalf of the consortium.
The consortium shall cater to the operation and maintenance of Dubai Metro as well as the operation of Dubai Tram as of September 8, 2021. Before that, preparations will be made for the handover of assets and systems from the current operator to the new operator to ensure a safe and smooth operation of Dubai Metro and Tram, once the contract kicks in.
Roles and responsibilities
“According to the contract, the consortium shall undertake the operation and maintenance services of the Dubai Metro Red and Green lines as well as Route 2020. It will also cater to the operation of Dubai Tram, and all assets of the metro and tram networks including trains, control centres, stations and the associated infrastructure. It shall also attend to the provision of high-class passenger transport services compatible with the daily changing requirements in the number of metro and tram riders,” said Al Tayer.
The contract also covers the operation and maintenance of the automated metro and fare systems including the selling and recharging of nol cards at the metro stations. It calls for providing senior, technical and administrative posts for Emiratis and training them on the rail work. RTA is keen on qualifying citizens and offering them exposure to international expertise in the operation and maintenance of the rail systems, which is new to the region.
High safety levels
“During the preparatory period, the consortium shall be in full coordination with the current operator to take over the tasks and ensure high safety levels for network users. The process entails continuous monitoring of the safety and the continued improvement of the metro and tram systems and requires coordination between the metro, tram and other means of transport. It also requires the smooth transfer of employees from the current operator to the new operator,” noted Al Tayer.
Outsourcing of operation and maintenance
Al Tayer stressed that the outsourcing of the Dubai Metro operation and maintenance to specialist international firms was attributed to a host of considerations. “RTA is keen on ensuring the highest standards of security and safety for the metro and tram riders and achieving competitive performance indicators of operation and punctuality of journeys besides improving the quality of services provided to metro and tram riders. Moreover, the operation of the metro and tram requires experience in the scheduling of the metro and tram services and all the sophisticated mechanical, computing and electronic operational systems,” he explained.
“Moreover, the specialist companies have extensive international maintenance experience by dealing with experts and specialists of the industry across the globe. The outsourcing of these jobs will also reduce the operational and maintenance costs of the metro and tram by benefiting from the high performance of those companies in delivering top quality services at lower costs and their continuous efforts to reduce operational costs. They will also enable the transfer the operational and maintenance expertise to citizens. The contract separates the consortium’s role in the operation and maintenance of the system, and RTA’s role in monitoring and overseeing the operation. The outsourcing of metro and tram operation and maintenance is a common global practice across famous metro lines in cities like London, Singapore, Paris and Sydney,” concluded Al Tayer.
Metro and Tram network
Dubai’s metro and tram network spans about 100km (90km for the Red and Green Lines including Route 2020, and 10.6km for the Tram line). The network has 64 stations (53 for the metro and 11 for the tram) served by 129 metro trains and 11 trams. The total number of metro and tram riders is about 210 million riders per year.