DUBAI’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced a Keolis-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) joint venture as the winner of a contract to operate the city’s metro and light rail networks for nine years on March 20. The contract is worth approximately €125m per year and includes three two-year options to extend the contract until 2036.

The joint venture, which is led by Keolis alongside railway system integrator Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering (MHI) and Mitsubishi Corporation, will take over operation of the network in September for an initial term of nine years, replacing Serco, which has run the network since the opening of the line in 2009. 

The contract covers operation of Dubai’s 90km, two-line, 53-station metro network, as well as the city’s 10.6km, 11-station light rail network. This includes the planned 3.4km Metro Route 2020 extension of the Red Line to Al Maktoum International Airport following its completion.  

The contract also includes the provision of maintenance services for all assets on both networks, including trains, control centres, stations and associated infrastructure. 

Keolis says that the joint venture will combine its knowledge of automated metro operations with MHI and Mitsubishi’s knowledge of the Dubai metro network, following their heavy involvement in its construction and development. 

Keolis-MHI will also: 

  • employ and train around 2000 staff members and work with local businesses to develop local expertise 
  • implement real-time passenger information and optimised timetables 
  • manage and improve rolling stock and infrastructure life cycles through predictive maintenance and data-led processes, digitalisation and visualisation, and 
  • support and exchange knowledge and best practice with other metro networks. 

The metro is operated using 79 driverless four-car Kinki Sharyo trains delivered in 2009 and 50 Metropolis trains supplied by Alstom, 15 of which are currently in service to support operations on the 15km Red Line extension to the Expo 2020 site, which was inaugurated in July 2020 and began regular service on January 1 2021. The full Metropolis fleet was delivered between November 2018 and the second quarter of 2020.

Services on the light rail network, which opened in November 2014, are operated using a fleet of 11 catenary-free Alstom Citadis LRVs. 

Dubai has the longest fully driverless and automated metro network in the world, and the city’s combined metro and light rail networks carry around 210 million passengers every year.