Posted 1st August 2011 | 5 Comments

French 'set to take over' Manchester Metrolink

French operator RATP took over the London bus operator London United at the beginning of March this year

French operator RATP took over the London bus operator London United at the beginning of March this year

IT'S REPORTED that the French operator RATP is poised to take over the Manchester Metrolink concession from Stagecoach.

Although as yet there has been no official confirmation, none of those thought to be involved have issued a formal denial that talks have been under way.

The Manchester Evening News says confidential talks have been taking place, and that the leaders of the ten local authorities affected have now been briefed, with a Stock Exchange announcement from Stagecoach Holdings said to be due tomorrow morning.

The Metrolink network is expanding at the moment, with a new line to Chorlton having been opened last month.

When all additional routes now under construction have been completed, the system will run over more route kilometres than Amsterdam.

The present Stagecoach Metrolink concession has another six years to run. It started in 2007 when Stagecoach took over from Serco.

RATP is the operator of 43 subsidiaries in France and other countries, including the Paris Metro. The Group has an annual turnover of more than 4.7 billion Euros and employs 56,000 people. In March it became the owner of London bus operator London United.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Graham, Manchester, England

    I fully agree with the comments here, as I am sure does everyone else who understands the business. What I don't understand is why the Government, Local Authority PTEs etc. don't, or won't see it themselves. I'd love to know what's going on!

  • Maurice Hopper, Exeter

    If we had had some of the thinking shown by RATP in urban transport in the UK over the last 40 plus years, we would not messing about with the relatively small urban rail networks, both in number and size, outside London. Totally agree with Lee. Why have the private finger in the pie. Good public transport, run by a public body for the public benefit.... That was the origin of the RATP.

  • MikeB, Liverpool

    Completely agree with Claydon Williams. Unlike all other European countries, the French continue to maintain a total ban on foreign involvement in many of their industrial sectors - including public transport. Therefore, until they change their policy and open the door to outsiders, Phillip Hammond and the DfT should be extremely reluctant to even consider shortlisting Keolis/SNCF for the WCML and any other franchises.

  • Claydon William, Norwich, Norfolk

    This really should not be permitted.

    I personally find it ironic that the French have been completely domestically protective of their transport provision; and singularly refused to allow competetive forces to enter many of their own markets; yet RATP seems to think it can enter other markets presumably to seek profits.

    How many British companies would be allowed to enter the Parisen transport market ?

    RATP ought to be rejected from this bid and process, if for no other reason, blind hypocricy.

  • Lee, Manchester, England

    I know I might be naiive about this but why exactly do we need a french prganisation, or any provate company for that matter, to run a tram system that was built by and is financed by Transport for Greater Manchester? The ticketing will stay the same, as will the routes, costs and even the lvery each tram is painted in, so what excatly does Stagecoach/RATP/Etc. do except receive copious amounts of tax payers money?