QATAR: Public transport authority Qatar Rail has awarded the RKH Qitarat joint venture between a consortium of RATP Dev and Keolis (49%) and local construction, property and trading business Hamad Group (51%) a contract to operate and maintain the Doha metro and Lusail light rail networks.

The contract awarded on December 7 is expected to be worth €3bn over its 20-year duration. Services are scheduled to be launched in stages from the end of 2018 to 2020.

The 75 km driverless metro will serve 37 stations on three lines. The first part of the network will be largely underground and is expected to open at the end of 2018, with traffic expected to reach 640 000 passengers/day from 2021.

The 18 km first phase of the Lusail light rail network will have four lines serving 25 stops. Half of the network will be underground. The first section is scheduled to open in January 2019, with completion planned for 2020.

RKH Qitarat said the pre-launch mobilisation phase was an ‘extremely short timeframe compared to the 18 months usually accorded’. As a result it would have to recruit and train employees in less than 12 months, with 1 500 staff being needed within two years.

RATP Group CEO Catherine Guillouard said SNCF and RATP had ‘teamed up to offer Qatar the very best French urban mobility know-how to operate and maintain its automated metro and light rail system, providing a benchmark in mobility — efficient, innovative, reliable and sustainable — to meet the needs of all of Doha’s inhabitants.’

‘This partnership brings Qatar into the exclusive club of cities with automated metro networks’, said Pierre Abi Nahed of Hamad Group. ‘It represents a real opportunity to use the latest technology in this field and reflects Qatar’s commitment to being at the cutting edge of innovation and making the best use of the international expertise being delivered by these two companies.’