FRANCE: Following the election of a new socialist administration earlier this year, Marseille Provence Métropole, the authority for the greater Marseille area, has voted to terminate the eight-year contract to operate the city's light rail network held by a joint venture of municipal operator RTM and Veolia. RTM will now be solely responsible for operating the two-line network.
MTM member and RTM's new President Karim Zéribi said that the light rail network was 'a fine shop window' for Marseille, but that the choice of routes had been 'a strategic error'. The system was currently carrying 40000 passengers a day, when according to Zéribi 'there should be 160000' given the €490m invested in building the network.
The next phase of network development is scheduled for September 15, when the tunnel between Eugène Pierre and Noailles is due to return to service following upgrading (RG 10.07 p643). From this date route T1 will run from Noailles to Les Caillols, and T2 from Blancarde Foch to Euromediterrannée Gantès. A short extension to Euromediterrannée Arenc is also planned.
Longer-term, Zéribi has indicated that RTM will be looking to improve its road operations through the provision of dedicated busways and other measures, as well as becoming the sole operator throughout the MTM area.