RTA awards contract for operation and maintenance of Dubai Metro & Tram to French-Japanese consortium

The tripartite consortium consists of Keolis, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering and Mitsubishi Corporation


A French-Japanese consortium has won a contract for the operation and maintenance of the Dubai Metro as well as the operation of the Dubai Tram.

The contract covers 15 years (9 base years and 6 renewable years) and amounts to approximately AED542 million per annum. The consortium consists of three companies namely Keolis, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, and Mitsubishi Corporation. The award of the contract follows a public tender released by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in which four consortiums and international firms specialised in rail operation and maintenance took part. Proposals made were analysed and the contract was awarded to the French-Japanese consortium for submitting the best technical and financial proposals. 

His Excellency Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority, remotely signed the contract on behalf of RTA. Keolis Group CEO Marie-Ange Debon, Aki Heiko Nozaka, Director of Investment and Services at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, and Toru Kimura, General Manager of Mitsubishi Corporation, signed on behalf of the consortium.

The consortium shall cater to the operation and maintenance of Dubai Metro as well as the operation of Dubai Tram as of September 8th, 2021. Before that, preparations will be made for the handover of assets and systems from the current operator to the new operator to ensure a safe and smooth operation of Dubai Metro and Tram, once the contract kicks in. 

Roles and Responsibilities

“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. It shall also attend to the provision of high-class passenger transport services compatible with the daily changing requirements in the number of metro and tram riders,” said Al Tayer.

“The contract also covers the operation and maintenance of the automated metro and fare systems including the selling and recharging of nol cards at the metro stations. It calls for providing senior, technical and administrative posts for Emiratis and training them on the rail work. RTA is keen on qualifying citizens and offering them exposure to international expertise in the operation and maintenance of the rail systems, which is new to the region. 

“During the preparatory period, the consortium shall be in full coordination with the current operator to take over the tasks and ensure high safety levels for network users. The process entails continuous monitoring of the safety and the continued improvement of the metro and tram systems and requires coordination between the metro, tram and other means of transport. It also requires the smooth transfer of employees from the current operator to the new operator,” noted Al Tayer. 

Outsourcing of Operation and Maintenance

Al Tayer stressed that the outsourcing of the Dubai Metro operation and maintenance to specialist international firms was attributed to a host of considerations. “RTA is keen on ensuring the highest standards of 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. Moreover, the operation of the metro and tram requires experience in the scheduling of the metro and tram services and all the sophisticated mechanical, computing and electronic operational systems,” he explained.

“Moreover, the specialist companies have extensive international maintenance experience by dealing with experts and specialists of the industry across the globe. The outsourcing of these jobs will also reduce the operational and maintenance costs of the metro and tram by benefiting from the high performance of those companies in delivering top quality services at lower costs and their continuous efforts to reduce operational costs. They will also enable the transfer the operational and maintenance expertise to citizens. The contract separates the consortium’s role in the operation and maintenance of the system, and RTA’s role in monitoring and overseeing the operation. The outsourcing of metro and tram operation and maintenance is a common global practice across famous metro lines in cities like London, Singapore, Paris and Sydney,” concluded Al Tayer. 

Prod Partners

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.” More

RTA Dubai