Keolis renewed as operator of Rennes (France) public transport network

10-20-2017. On 19 October 2017, Rennes Metropole, in the West side of France, renewed its confidence in Keolis as the operator of its public transport network. The new contract, which will start on 1 January 2018 for a period of 7 years, will generate cumulative revenue of 960 million euros. There will be an increase in Keolis Rennes employees from 1,000 to 1,150.

In addition to the transport services already managed by Keolis, the new public service delegation (PSD) contract will include:

  • A second metro line, which will accompany the redesign of the bus network
  • New mobility services, including real-time car sharing, the launch of a bike-share scheme and development of a long-term electric bike rental system
  • The launch of STARMobilités, a new app combining all of the STAR network’s services, as well as, other useful city information (e.g. movie theatre times, weather, traffic updates, etc.) in real-time
  • A shift towards electric buses: 8 Bolloré buses will be trialled from 2018 to 2020 and the Handistar accessible minibus will transition to electric operation from 2020 onwards
  • Introduction of a new ticketing system in 2019 and metro access gates to reduce fare evasion

This new contract is focused on innovation and energy transition. Together, Rennes Metropole and Keolis aim to expand the transport offer to provide a strong alternative to private cars and change the way everyday mobility is delivered. A target of 36% increase in passenger numbers has been set, which will result in an increase from 82 million to 112 million passenger journeys per year by 2024.

From a « Transport » PSD to a « Mobility » PSD

Having operated the STAR transport network since 1998, from 1 January 2018 Keolis will become the operator of all mobility services for the Greater Rennes region. In addition to the existing metro line, bus and HANDISTAR reduced mobility services already operated by Keolis, the new contract will also include the management of a second metro line, a bike-share scheme (previously managed separately), the development of a long-term electric bike rental system, the management of a bicycle customer service centre (“La maison du velo”), and real-time car sharing.  

A new ticketing system will be introduced from 2019. Building on the technology from the Korrigo multi-service transport card in Brittany, France, the system will reduce fare evasion by installing ticket gates for the metro, and transiting from paper to contactless ticketing and new NFC or open payment technology.

The new contract will considerably strengthen services to outer-suburban areas, especially thanks to the opening of a second metro line:

  • 1 million additional kilometres of metropolitan bus lines (outside the ring road) thanks to their connections with the metro and a reduction in the number of suburban bus lines
  • Extension of evening operating times for bus lines servicing communities with more than 6,000 inhabitants.

Launch of a second metro line and redesign of the bus network

In order to respond to the growing population in the heart of the region, Keolis is supporting the launch of a second driverless, automated metro line (line B), scheduled for 2020.
Launched in 2002, line A (8.5km serving 15 stations), recognised as one of the most reliable in the world, manages an average of 310,000 passenger journeys every day.

The STAR network is strongly structured around this line, which has generated an increase in patronage since it was launched. A second line has now been deemed necessary. The future line B will be a 14km long, completely automated and driverless. With a speed of 37km/h and able to carry 179 passengers per carriage, the line is expected to carry an average of 113,000 passengers per day. The line will help structure and enhance the current city transport offer. Together, lines A and B will manage 60% of overall passenger traffic on the STAR network.

The routes and service frequency of suburban bus lines will be adapted to the new metro line.

The shift towards electric buses

As a strong advocate for smart energy transition, Rennes Metropole decided to stop purchasing diesel buses in 2015. In line with this decision, the new contract will see the trial of eight 100% electric Bluebuses (Bolloré) from 2018 to 2020. Starting in 2020, the STAR bus network, including Handistar minibuses for passengers with reduced mobility, will progressively transition to electric operation.

Bicycles now a strong trend for PSD

In accordance with the Rennes Métropole’s strategic policy for sustainable mobility, Keolis will considerably expand its bike offer with 700 bike-share bikes and 1,800 electric bikes available for yearly rental. Keolis will also operate the “Maison du vélo”, a customer centre for all bike-related services, giving access to short-term bike rentals, information on all bike facilities and cycle itineraries in the area, and also offering maintenance for personal bikes. There will also be a mobile version of the Maison du vélo installed inside a converted bus, so that it can move around to local communities.  

STARMobilités, an innovative app

Launched in March 2018, the new version of STARMobilités brings together in the one app movie theatre times, weather forecasts, and traffic updates, in addition to transport related information such as a journey planner, passenger information, ticket purchases and pass recharging.

A car sharing service will be integrated in the STARMobilités app, allowing drivers and potential passengers to connect based on real-time information. 
The STARMobilités app will also display all possible alternatives to private cars in real-time (ie. metro, bus, bike-share and car sharing).