On 11th May, Keolis began operating 43 fully electric buses out of a total fleet of 136 vehicles on behalf of Amiens Métropole. The buses, which can accommodate up to 151 passengers, operate on three routes which serve some of the intercommunal area's key locations, including the city centre, its leisure facilities (hippodrome, the exhibition centre and the new swimming pool), university hospital complex, university campuses, train stations and the main residential areas. Some of the routes along which the buses run are dedicated transport corridors and enjoy priority right of way at traffic lights from 4am until midnight. During peak hours, buses run every 8 to 10 minutes.
Built by Spanish manufacturer Irizar, these new environmentally-friendly, silent and cost-efficient buses emit no atmospheric pollution and reduce noise and vibrations significantly. Consequently, these new buses will improve quality of life for all Amiens residents as well as improving the passenger experience.
A first in Europe, these electric vehicles have a unique charging system featuring a rapid charge option in the bus terminal (4-5 minutes average charging time for 40 km of autonomous service), or a slower charge option in the bus depot at night (3-4 hours to charge to 100% capacity).
To prepare for the launch of the electric BRT system and upgrade the skill sets of the people involved in operating these new vehicles, Keolis has implemented a training scheme for more than 300 drivers, as well as employees in charge of maintaining the electric vehicles and the regulators at the central control station.
Furthermore, a new HEQ - certified operations and maintenance centre HEQ which can accommodate up to 155 buses has been built in Rivery, on the outskirts of Amiens. Opened on 15th April in the presence of Elisabeth Borne, France's Minister for Transport, and Alain Gest, Chairman of Amiens Métropole, this site has been designed to make it easier to manage and maintain the network and bring about significant improvements in working conditions.
Keolis is a pioneer in developing public transport systems and works alongside public decision-makers who want to turn shared mobility systems into levers to enhance the appeal and vitality of their regions. A world leader in operating automated metro and tramway systems, Keolis is supported by a sustained and open innovative policy alongside all of its partners and subsidiaries – Kisio, EFFIA, Keolis Santé and Cykleo – to bolster its core business and develop new innovative and bespoke shared mobility solutions, 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 parking company through its subsidiary EFFIA, and the country's leading medical transport solution since the creation of Keolis Santé in July 2017.