On 13 November 2020, Agglopolys, the conurbation authority of Blois in the French department of Loir-et-Cher, renewed its trust in Keolis for the operation and maintenance of its entire public transport network, Azalys.
This new eight-year public service concession will begin on 1 January 2021 and will generate cumulative revenue of nearly €100 M. It will be accompanied by the overhaul of the network, planned for 1 September 2021.
As the operator of the Azalys network, Keolis' mission will be to strengthen the transport offer in the region, to promote more sustainable mobility, notably through the conversion of a line with 100% electric buses, and to increase network ridership by the end of the contract.
An enhanced transport offer
Destined to serve the city of Blois and the 42 other municipalities of the Agglopolys conurbation authority, where many of the Loire châteaux are located, the Azalys transport network will evolve, as of 1 September 2021, to meet the growing mobility needs of the conurbation's 110,000 inhabitants and visitors (+38% in ridership since 2013).
The network, which is currently structured around seven main bus lines, an electric shuttle in the city centre, an on-demand transport service and a transport service for people with reduced mobility, will benefit from a number of developments from September 2021 onwards, including:
- The improvement of the existing urban offer, with:
- better access to the city's main points of interest (cultural and sports centres and economic hubs in particular),
- increased frequency of the "employee bus line" (mainly used by the workforce of the conurbation) with the number of return journeys increased from 7 to 11 during peak hours. It will serve the conurbation's main areas of activity where most of the companies (almost 2,000) are located,
- the creation of an inter-neighbourhood line that does not serve the city centre,
- a strengthened offer:
- on Sundays, during which the municipalities situated at the heart of the conurbation will now be served,
- in the evening, buses will run downtown after 23:00 on Fridays and Saturdays,
- the incorporation of a new route for the electric shuttle in the city centre.
- a strengthened suburban offer:
- the overhaul of the on-demand transport service, now available in four zones around the main connection hubs of the conurbation, which will make it possible to book a shuttle up to 30 minutes before departure,
- improving services to schools, in particular those located outside the municipality of Blois.
Renewal of the fleet, with a focus on clean energies
The contract provides for the complete renewal of the fleet on the network's busiest line, with the incorporation of six 100% electric buses. After the shuttle in the city centre, this will be the conurbation's first fully electric line. With a view to launching the line in September 2021, Keolis is currently preparing the transformation of the depot, including the installation of electric terminals where vehicles can be recharged.
Apart from the reduction in noise and vibrations, thanks to the electric propulsion system, the users of this line will benefit from an enhanced passenger experience with the provision of a Wi-Fi network and connected screens on board.
Keolis confirms its presence in the Centre Val de Loire region
With the renewal of this contract, the Group confirms its strong presence in this region. As well as the Blois city transport network, Keolis also operates the networks of Orléans, Tours, Châteauroux, Dreux and Montargis.