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Keolis launches fully-electric bus rapid transit line in France

Transport operator builds on its sustainable mobility lead in France

Global transport operator Keolis has launched a fully-electric Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line in the south of France, securing its place as the country’s largest operator of electric transport networks.

The new 12km route will connect the major cities of Bayonne and Biarritz, reducing travel time to 30 minutes, via a network of 30 regional stations.

It will be serviced by a fleet of 10 buses, built by Spanish manufacturer Irizar, which are non-polluting and fully-accessible to those with reduced mobility. The 150-seat vehicles are fast-charged in five minutes, and are quieter and produce less vibration compared with a traditional bus.

The new line will form part of Chronplus, the transport network for the Basque Country conurbation authority. Keolis operates the network on behalf of public transport authority Syndicat des Mobilités Pays Basque Adour (SMPBA) and carries 9.5 million passengers every year.

Its opening will be followed by the launch of a second electric BRT line between Bayonne and Tarnos in 2020, as part of a wider overhaul of the Basque network to deliver a simpler transport offer to passengers.

In addition it will boost connectivity and accessibility across key mobility hubs in the Basque region, with an expected increase to network usage of 25 per cent over the next four years.

Keolis is already delivering a number of other electric mobility projects across Europe, running electric fleets in Sweden and the Netherlands, as well as a carbon-free bus network in Bergen Norway. The Group is also active in North America, where it is the largest operator of 100 per cent electric C-type school buses in the region.

In the UK, it is the leader in high-performance light rail services, operating London’s DLR, the Manchester Metrolink and Nottingham’s award-winning urban light rail network, in addition to three major rail franchises.