Keolis Wins the Iconic Contract for the Automatic Metro and Tramway in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates

The Dubai transport organizing authority announced the award of a nine-year contract to Keolis to operate and maintain two networks: the Dubai metro and the city's tramway.

Paris, 22 March 2021 –His Excellency Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), said: “We at Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority are keen on ensuring the highest standards of operation, maintenance, security and safety for the metro and tram riders and achieving competitive performance indicators of operation and punctuality of journeys besides improving the quality of services provided to metro and tram riders."

According to the contract, the consortium shall undertake the operation and maintenance services of the Dubai Metro Red and Green lines as well as Route 2020. It will also cater to the operation of Dubai Tram, and all assets of the metro and tram networks including trains, control centres, stations, and the associated infrastructure”.

Keolis Group CEO Marie-Ange Debon said: “We are honoured to have been selected, along with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering and Mitsubishi Corporation, by RTA to operate and maintain Dubai's sophisticated driverless metro system and catenary-free tram system. Keolis boasts extensive experience in managing automated metro and tram networks, and as a multimodal operator working closely with 300 public transport authorities every day to guarantee safe, reliable, and passenger-focused mobility solutions, we look forward to nurturing a collaborative partnership with RTA to deliver their vision of smart, sustainable and convenient public transportation for the city.”

A modern, innovative public transport network at the forefront of smart mobility

Underpinning Dubai’s Smart City vision, innovation is a key feature of RTA’s metro and tram networks, which carry around 210 million passengers per year (2019).

Harnessing modern level 4 communications-based train control (CBTC) technology, provided by Thales – which increases transport capacity by reducing the time interval between trains - the Dubai metro network is the longest fully driverless and automated metro network in the world. It features two lines (including Route 2020) spanning a total of 90 kilometers, including 15.8 km of tunnel, and 53 fully air-conditioned stations offering a host of facilities ranging from retail outlets to Wi-Fi. The metro system is embedded into a wider, multimodal network offering comprehensive and accessible travel options, which link metro stations with bus, taxi, and marine services.

Equipped with 129 metro trainsets (79 Kinki Sharyo metro trains delivered by Mitsubishi in 2009 and 50 Metropolis trains built by Alstom), the metro network provides easy access to key locations such as Dubai International Airport, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Healthcare City, and the Expo 2020 site, where the United Arab Emirates is set to host an exceptional edition of the World Expo event for six months from October 2021.

The city’s catenary-free tram network, which opened in 2014, harnesses an APS ground-level power supply system, offering passengers a convenient and comfortable travel option and without overhead catenary wires, provides great opportunities to view Dubai’s magnificent urban landscape. With a total length of 10.6 km, the city’s tram network consists of 11 stations and 11 Alstom Citadis trams, connecting to two metro stations: Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers. The tram network is equipped with cutting-edge innovations such as platform screen doors.

A unique alliance that will enhance the passenger experience

From September 2021, Keolis will provide shared mobility services in Dubai along with the major railway system integrator MHI and rolling stock supplier MC, partners which were both heavily involved in the construction and development of Dubai’s metro network. With Keolis in the lead, the JV will take the form of a new subsidiary called Keolis-MHI.

This JV combines MHI and MC’s extensive knowledge of Dubai’s metro network with Keolis’ experience in automated metro operations. The JV will work hand-in-hand with RTA to deliver its vision of world-class, smart, and sustainable mobility for the city. Keolis-MHI will:

  • Welcome and train around 2,000 staff members in the “Zero Harm” safety culture and “Thinking Like a Passenger” approach, which ensures that safety and passenger satisfaction are placed at the heart of its operations.
  • Develop local communities’ expertise and talent by employing Emiratis and working with local businesses.
  • Enhance the multi-modal journey experience with innovations in real-time passenger information and optimized timetables.
  • Manage and improve rolling stock and infrastructure asset life cycle, through predictive maintenance and data-led processes, digitalisation, and visualisation.
  • Continue to support and exchange knowledge and best practice through a community of thousands of rail experts working across 9 metros and 26 tram networks.

A track record of partnering with public transport authorities to enhance metro and tram operations in cities around the world

Keolis will draw on its extensive experience in managing automated metros and trams in close partnership with public transport authorities (PTAs). Keolis works closely with 300 PTAs across the world, including:

  • Transport for London and Transport for Greater Manchester in the UK,
  • Department of Transport (Victoria), Transport for New South Wales (NSW), Department of Transport and Main Roads (Queensland), Department for Infrastructure and Transport (SA),
  • Sytral (Lyon), Bordeaux Metropole (for whom the APS tram was first deployed), MEL in Lille (which launched the world’s first automated metro), Rennes Metropole in France,
  • Larsen & Toubro, Hyderabad in India,
  • Shentong Metro Group (Shanghai) in China, and
  • Qatar Rail.
Dubai metro and tram networks – key figures
Metro network:
  • 90km
  • 2 lines
  • 53 stations
  • 79 Kinki Sharyo metro trainsets + 50 Alstom Metropolis trainsets
  • CBTC level 4 supplied by Thales
  • 3 depots
  • 1 control center
Tram network:
  • 10.6 km
  • 11 stations
  • 11 APS Citadis trams

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About Keolis

Keolis is a pioneer in developing public transport systems and works alongside public authorities who want to enhance shared mobility systems to grow the appeal and vitality of their regions. A world leader in operating automated metro and tramway systems, Keolis and its partners and subsidiaries Kisio, EFFIA, Keolis Santé, and Cykleo support the core business with innovations offering new and bespoke shared mobility solutions for modes including trains, buses, and coaches, trolleybuses, shared car solutions, river and sea shuttle services, bike-share services, car sharing, fully electric driverless shuttles, and urban cable cars.

In France, Keolis is the second largest provider of parking management solutions through its subsidiary EFFIA and the country's leader in medical transport since the creation of Keolis Santé in July 2017. The Group is 70%-owned by SNCF and 30%-owned by the Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (Quebec Deposit and Investment Fund) and employs 68,500 people in 15 countries*. In 2020, it posted revenue of €6.1 billion. In 2019, 3.4 billion passengers used one of Keolis’ shared mobility services.

* Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Senegal, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

About Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group is one of the world’s leading industrial groups, spanning energy, logistics & infrastructure, industrial machinery, aerospace, and defense. MHI Group combines cutting-edge technology with deep experience to deliver innovative, integrated solutions that help to realize a carbon-neutral world, improve the quality of
life and ensure a safer world. For more information, please visit or follow our insights and stories on

About Mitsubishi Corporation

Mitsubishi Corporation is a globally integrated business enterprise that develops and operates businesses together with its offices and subsidiaries in approximately 90 countries and regions worldwide. Its global network comprises some 1,700 group companies that are overseen by 10 Business Groups engaged in virtually every industry: Natural Gas, Industrial Materials, Petroleum & Chemicals, Mineral Resources, Industrial Infrastructure, Automotive & Mobility, Food Industry, Consumer Industry, Power Solution and Urban Development. Since its establishment, MC has worked in collaboration with its trusted global partners to expand its activities far beyond its traditional trading operations. Today those operations include upstream-to-downstream investments, project developments, production, and manufacturing. For more information on MC, please visit the company's website at 

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