GREATER Paris transport authority Île-de-France Mobilités has awarded the ORA Consortium a six-year contract to operate Line 15 South of the driverless Grand Paris Express network currently under construction around the French capital.

The six-year contract, with a three-year extension option, covers operation of the driverless metro trains, stations on Line 15 and the control centre, as well as fleet maintenance. The ORA Consortium will also be responsible for managing customer relations and the passenger information system.

The ORA Consortium is led by majority shareholder RATP Dev, which has partnered with Alstom and ComfortDelGro of Singapore.

The Line 15 South contract marks the entry into the French rail operating market of ComforDelGro, which operates 177km of light and heavy rail routes in the Asia-Pacific region. It holds 50% of the joint venture that in 2021 was awarded an eight-year contract to operate the Auckland commuter network in New Zealand.

Line 15 South is due open in late 2025 and will run for 33km from Pont-de-Sèvres to Noisy-Champs, serving 16 stations.

When completed throughout, Line 15 will run for 75km and form a complete orbital route around Paris, serving 45 municipalities and carrying 1.5 million passengers a day.

Line 15 South under construction at Les Ardoines. Photo Credit: David Haydock

“Alongside our partners, we will put RATP Dev's recognised expertise in the operation of automated metros at the service of Île-de-France Mobilités and the people of the Greater Paris region, providing a travel experience focused on service quality,” says RATP Dev CEO, Ms Hiba Farès.

Through its subsidiary SBS Transit, ComfortDelGro is also bidding with RATP Dev for the Jurong Region Line and Cross Island Line metro operating contracts in Singapore.

“This is part of our longer-term strategy to grow beyond our traditional core taxi and bus businesses,” says ComfortDelGro group chairman, Mr Mark Greaves.

“We see the rail business as a new significant contributor which is why we are focused on growing this business and have been adding experts in rail tendering and operations under our wholly-owned subsidiary, ComfortDelGro Transit. These include new heads of rail operations, maintenance and customer experience.”

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