A consortium led by French and Japanese companies won a Dh542 million ($147.5m) per annum contract to operate and maintain the Dubai Metro and Tram.
The contract was awarded to Keolis, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering and Mitsubishi Corporation. It is valid for nine base years and can be renewed for six more.
The consortium will operate and maintain the Metro’s Red and Green lines and Route 2020, according to Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the board of executive directors of the Roads and Transport Authority.
Route 2020, an extension of the Red line, connects the public transport system to the Expo 2020 site. It starts at the Jebel Ali station, which was previously known as Nakheel Harbour and Tower.
The deal includes the emirate’s tram network, including trains, control centres, stations and other infrastructure.
“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,” said Mr Al Tayer.
The Nol top-up card can be used to pay for Metro, tram, bus, taxi and water taxi services in the emirate.
The French and Japanese companies will be responsible for the provision of passenger transport services.
They will also hire Emiratis to fill senior, technical and administrative positions.
The authority plans to equip the local population with skills required by the rail industry, which is fairly new to the region.
“During the preparatory period, the consortium shall be in full co-ordination with the current operator to take over the tasks and ensure high safety levels for network users,” said Mr Al Tayer.
The metro was operated by Serco since it began operations in 2007.
New Metro stations in Dubai
It opened four new stations along Route 2020 earlier this year: Jebel Ali, The Gardens, Discovery Gardens and Al Furjan.
Three more stations – Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai Investments Park and 2020 Expo – are scheduled to open later this year.
The new 15-kilometre section will allow trains to carry tens of thousands of visitors to the Expo site when the event begins in October 2021.
The world fair was originally scheduled to be held in October 2020 but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.