THE Angers-Loire Metropolitan Authority inaugurated two new light rail lines and unveiled its new and improved public transport network on July 7, with operation beginning a day later. Services on the full network were free until July 14, to allow passengers to become familiar with the new route structure.

The network now includes the new 4.8km Belle-Beille Campus - Molière and the 3.6km Centre de Congrès - Monplaisir sections, taking light rail services to the west and the east, respectively. Line A continues to run north-south from Avrillé-Ardennes to Angers-Roseraie; Line B runs from Belle-Beille Campus to Monplaisir; and Line C runs from Belle-Beille Campus to Angers-Roseraie.

The network now serves 35% of the population of Angers, with 19 new stops added at an average distance of 500m between stops.

Services operate every eight minutes, increasing to every four minutes at peak times for sections served by two lines. RATP Dev Angers, which has been responsible for operating the Irigo network since 2011, will continue to operate the expanded network. More than 50 companies were involved in the construction of the network, including Colas and Durand.

Alstom has supplied 20 new 30m-long Citadis LRVs with capacity for 210 passengers each, under a €55m contract awarded in December 2019.

Park-and-ride facilities have been built at the La Barre and Montaigne stops, with a car park constructed at Monplaisir. Services will operate between 06.00 and 01.00 Monday-Saturday, and 07.15-23.00 on Sundays.

The extension project cost €270m, with €249.5m funded by the Angers Loire Méropole, €25m from the central government, €10m from the Pays de la Loire region and €700,00 from the European Regional Development Fund.

Consultation on the extensions began in 2014 and tendering started in 2015, but in 2016 the city voted to defer the start of construction amid concerns over a shortage of financial resources.

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