River and maritime transport

An inclusive mobility solution for islands and cities

To cater to the specific circumstances of some communities, Keolis operates river and maritime transport services dedicated to passenger transport. An activity carried out by the Keolis Group with the same commitment to operational excellence as the other transport modes.

A mobility solution in its own right

For almost 40 years, Keolis has been transporting passengers on boats. The Keolis Group currently operates four such services in France and Australia: in Finistère (Penn Ar Bed Maritime Company), Bordeaux (Bat3), Bayonne and Newcastle (Australia). This extensive experience, combined with Keolis' expertise in passenger transport, means we can offer local authorities a mobility solution that meets the specific needs of their local region (islands, rivers running through a conurbation, peninsulas, ports, etc.). Our river and maritime transport services help to reduce congestion in urban and suburban contexts, providing an alternative means of opening up less-served areas for greater inclusiveness. And in Bordeaux, thanks to the two catamarans of the Bat3 service (250,000 passengers per year) with hybrid electric propulsion and low pollutant emissions, river shuttles are also contributing to the city's ambitions in terms of the ecological transition.

Serving local communities and their inhabitants 365 days a year

The river and sea shuttles operated by Keolis contribute to the liveability of local communities. All year round, since 1992, the boats of the Penn Ar Bed Maritime Company have been making life easier for the inhabitants of the Molène, Sein and Ouessant islands in Brittany by providing daily services to and from the mainland (Brest, Le Conquet, Audierne, etc.) and between the islands, as well as transporting goods and foodstuffs.

In Newcastle, Bayonne and Bordeaux, river and sea shuttles avoid long overland journeys by linking two banks of a river or a sea inlet and serving multimodal stations, from where passengers can take other transport modes.

In summer, ships also contribute to the appeal of a local region by transporting large numbers of holidaymakers with additional scheduled routes and services allowing them to access tourist sites.

A transport mode that's integrated into the networks

The river and maritime transport services are integrated into local mobility networks through multimodal interchanges along their routes as well as common timetable, ticketing and fare policies. In Bayonne, for example, the Adour 1 line has the same ticketing and fare structure as the Chronoplus bus and tram network.

Putting safety first, on water as well as on land

As with all transport modes operated by the Keolis Group, safety is the number one priority for employees of the Keolis maritime and river subsidiaries. Everything is done to preserve the safety of the passengers and employees, be it regular upkeep of the fleet by the maintenance teams, the crews’ scrupulous respect of safety rules during boarding/disembarkation and crossings, and the availability of emergency equipment (safety vests, fire extinguishers, etc.).

a river and sea shuttle

Passenger experience at its best

Welcoming passengers aboard, comfort, ticketing and booking, adherence to timetables, accessibility for people with reduced mobility: Keolis attaches the same importance to the passenger experience on board its river and sea shuttles as it does to any other transport mode. In Newcastle, for example, ferry passengers can use contactless payment to buy their tickets on board, using their smartphone or bank card. Similarly, the Penn Ar Bed Maritime Company offers paperless boarding passes and the opportunity to purchase them at special terminals in the Audierne and Le Conquet ferry terminals.

The Penn Ar Bed Maritime Company in figures

  • 6
    passenger ships
  • 1
    freight ship
  • 80 to 120
    sailors and staff
  • 7
    ferry terminals
  • 175,000
  • 10,000
    tonnes of goods per year