Versailles Grand Parc
A behind-the-scenes look at the overhaul of the bus network

August 2019 marked the launch of the new Phébus network, operated by Keolis. The network has been completely reconfigured, addressing new mobility needs of the Paris region. A look back at a major reorganisation, which required three years of discussions and nine months of preparation.

The Phébus bus network, covering Versailles, Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt and La Celle-Saint-Cloud, had not been developed for over 40 years. Therefore in 2016, in collaboration with Keolis, Île-de-France Mobilités and the conurbation of Versailles Grand Parc launched a major project to reorganise the lines in partnership with the different operators. "The main goals were to respond to the changing pace of life of people in the Paris region, and to better serve the Chantiers station, which was being completely transformed into a multi-modal transport interchange," explains Sylvain Beaugé, Marketing and Sales Director of Keolis Yvelines-Hauts-de-Seine "We also needed to simplify the bus network, which had become more complex over the years."

High stakes require a large-scale

To address these changes, the Phébus network has been thoroughly overhauled:

-          Simpler, more direct routes

-          A 10% increase in the transport offer to improve frequency and adding evening lines

-           New, easier-to-read numbering

-          Improved bus-train intermodality

These are the main changes implemented to facilitate daily travel for people living in the Paris region. 

The Phébus network's unprecedented development is the outcome of three years of discussions with Île-de-France Mobilités and Versailles Grand Parc. Involved from the outset, Keoliscarried out an in-depth analysis of the networkwhich was then shared with the transport authorities In order to collectively design a network that best meets the defined objectives.

A fantastic human adventure

Once validated, the project saw the start of operational preparations, a crucial cross-sectional phase spread over nine months and involving all Keolis businesses:

-          Marketing, to redesign passenger information documents and the public communication plan;

-          Operations, to train drivers in the new lines, routes and schedules;

-          The maintenance workshop, tasked with receiving and fitting the new vehicles;

-          Human Resources, in particular for hiring and training new recruits. 

"Such a big change amounts to a real revolution in the company," says Sylvain Beaugé. "The real challenge is to keep the network running normally until the day of the switchover. Everything changes overnight, and the quality of service has to keep up. The collaboration with IdFM and Versailles Grand Parc was key to meeting the challenge. We worked in project mode and held regular progress reviews."

A successful launch

The launch of the new network was a real success, thanks to Keolis' network overhaul expertise and the quality of the partnership between all those involved. "We've shown the public transport authority that we're capable of pulling together to carry out major projects," says Sylvain Beaugé. "The local authorities particularly appreciated the scale of the launch operation, with around 150 passenger information stands and large numbers of Keolis staff on the ground to accompany the passengers on their first journeys. As for the passengers, they were immediately won over by the simplification of the network, with more clearly identified lines, the extended range of lines in the evenings and the improved service to the Chantiers station." 

The Keolis touch

A depth analysis supported by a bespoke methodology

Our experience in redesigning networks has provided us with network diagnostic tools, studies for understanding and analysing local communities (Keoscopie) and a methodology for designing more efficient and appealing transport networks (Neolis). This means we can offer local authorities an in-depth  understanding of mobility in their region. Our hand-in-hand working methods with local authorities underpins our approach and our discussions enable us to advise and support them in providing passengers with more appealing public transport networks.

The new Phébus network in figures:

An offer increased by +10% in commercial km per year

146 vehicles

340 employees, including 280 drivers

Management of the new Versailles Chantiers bus station (14 bays, a customer reception area)

2 sales offices