Serco Signs Dubai Tram Operation Contract
Serco Group plc (Serco), the international services company, announces it has signed a contract with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to operate the Dubai Tram. The contract has a total value of £18million and will see Serco operate the tram for five years, preceded by an initial 15 month period of preparation, covering the recruitment and training of employees.
The Dubai Tramway will extend 14.6km alongside Al Sufouh Road and will officially launch in November 2014. Serco was selected for its experience in operating and maintaining a number of metro and rail lines across Europe and Australia and the contract win extends Serco’s successful partnership with the RTA – it began operating the Dubai Metro following its official opening and inauguration on 9 September 2009.
The Tram will be the world’s first tramway project powered by a ground-based electric supply system and will also be the first to use platform screen doors in passenger stations fully aligned with the tram’s doors opening and shutting mechanism.
David Campbell, CEO of Serco in Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australia, said: “We are delighted to now extend the partnership with RTA through the operation of Al Sufouh Tram, providing services to local residents and tourists in pursuit of RTA’s vision of safe, smooth and affordable public transport for all. The Tram will be an important boost to the JBR and Al Sufouh areas of the city, easing congestion and providing boosts to the local economy. We are committed to bringing the same world class operational practices to the Tram that are currently delivered on the Dubai Metro so that it fulfills the RTA’s objectives for the system and becomes another iconic reminder of the success of Dubai’s transport strategy.
“It is an honour for us to continue being a part of the development of integrated and sustainable transportation systems for Dubai’s residents and visitors and the continuing partnership with Dubai for the benefit of Dubai residents, its businesses and visitors.”
His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA, highlighted RTA’s commitment to effectively contribute to boosting the profile of Dubai as a modern, vibrant city, and one of the fastest growing global cities in the world.
He said: “Serco has been selected for the operation of the Dubai Tram system following a tender put out by the RTA for which a bunch of world-class companies specialized in rail operation & maintenance have taken part. Following the assessment of proposals submitted, Serco has been nominated for submitting the best offer, and the company has experience in operating and maintaining a number of metro and rail lines across Europe and Australia,” explained Al Tayer.
“As per the contract, the company will provide operation services for all assets of the tram system, and offer transit services to users at high-class standards tailored to the daily changes, besides protecting RTA’s assets, and operating the revenue system, and the collection of Nol cards selling & recharging proceeds. The company will also fully coordinate with both the construction contractor during the tests to be carried out in the pre-operation phase, and the maintenance contractor during the operation period. It will also attend to providing high safety levels for network users and cater to the full coordination and integration between the tram, metro and various transit means. The contract contains an article that provides for the commitment of Serco to transfer the workforce to the RTA, or any other entity selected by the RTA, upon the expiry of the contract,” he added.
“Tasking the operation and maintenance operations of the Dubai Tram to specialized world-class companies is attributed to a host of reasons highlighted by the fact that the operation of the tram warrants experience in scheduling the tram’s operational lines as well as host of sophisticated electronic, computerized and mechanical systems. The decision also underlines the need to minimize the operational costs of the tram through counting on the quality performance of private businesses, and depicts RTA’s keenness to provide top quality services at lower costs, besides freeing the RTA to focus on its core responsibilities of drafting legislations, overseeing the implementation and enforcing compliance therewith. Moreover, the privatization of tram and rail operation is practicable in a number of rail systems across the globe such as London, France, Australia, Korea, and the USA among others.”
Al Tayer added: “The Dubai Tram Project, which is being planned, designed and constructed pursuant to the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, calling for the provision of a sophisticated transit system to serve Jumeirah Beach Residence, Marina and Al Sufouh districts, has witnessed an accelerated work tempo recently. The test run of the Tram was conducted in the facilities of Alstom Company in France, including various tests such as safety systems, electric propulsion system of the tram coaches, braking system, sudden stop during emergency cases, ground power feed of the tram track, overhead power feed in the Depot, and the tram’s doors operation mechanism. Once the trams start arriving in Dubai next December, the RTA will commission other trial tests on the test track and these tests will roll on until the official launch of the tram service in November 2014.”