Keolis has operated the network, which serves 25 districts in the Tours region, since 1992. As part of the new seven-year contract, Keolis will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the tram network, including the 15km Line A which opened in 2013 and is due to be extended to the airport, and a planned 15km Line B which is due to open in 2025 to connect the city centre with the regional university hospitals and school zone.

Keolis will also manage the bus network and transport for people with reduced mobility. The company has committed to increasing passenger journeys by 26% by 2025, from 37.5 million per year to 47.6 million per year, resulting in an expected revenue increase of €3.5m.

The company says it is committed to working closely with the city and passengers during construction of Line B to deliver effective, responsive and real-time passenger information to ensure services are maintained during the construction phase, which will last from October 2021 until June 2024.

A range of digital innovations will be introduced from 2019 via a new mobility app, a refreshed website and the introduction of an on-demand transport service, which will allow for reservations of up to 30 minutes in advance.

Small sensors and beacons will also be installed at stations to connect passengers’ smartphones, via the Fil Bleu app and activated via Bluetooth. Keolis says the service will provide passengers with travel information related to their specific stop.

“Keolis is proud to continue its partnership with Tours Métropole and to support it in the implementation of its ambitious and innovative policy for sustainable mobility, within a well-defined budget,” says CEO, France, for the Keolis Group, Mr Frédéric Baverez. “The attractiveness of the Fil Bleu network and the growth of the Tours region will be strengthened by new digital tools, the transition of buses to natural gas, the introduction of electric shuttles, as well as the launch of the second tram line in 2025.”