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Basque Coast launches second electric bus rapid transit line

Keolis will run the 10km line on behalf of Basque Country Public Transport Authority and it will link Tarnos to Bayonne in south-west France, carrying around 90,000 passengers per month.

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The second e-BRT line will connect Bayonne and Tarnos in 20 minutes. Copyright: Régis Guichenducq
The second e-BRT line will connect Bayonne and Tarnos in 20 minutes. Copyright: Régis Guichenducq

Keolis has launched a second 100 per cent electric bus rapid transit (e-BRT) line on the Chronoplus transport network on the Basque Coast in the south-west of France.

 

It will link the commune of Tarnos, part of the Community of Municipalities of Seignanx, to the city of Bayonne on behalf of the Basque Country Public Transport Authority SMPBA (Syndicat des Mobilités Pays Basque Adour).

 

The first e-BRT line, linking Bayonne to Biarritz, entered service in September 2019.

 

Increasing ridership

 

The new line is 10km long, spanning 24 stations and will run seven electric vehicles, which will carry approximately 90,000 passengers per month. The line will increase the transport offering by 25 per cent and has a target to increase ridership by 50 per cent.

 

Keolis has operated the Chronoplus network since 2017, providing mobility services to 165,000 inhabitants in the Basque Country conurbation, which includes eleven municipalities in the south-west of France. From now on, more than 40 per cent of journeys on the Chronoplus network will be made on electric vehicles.

 

In addition to the two 100 per cent electric BRT lines, the network includes 16 bus routes, 19 school lines, six free electric shuttle services, a transport for people with reduced mobility (TPRM) service, a river link and two park-and-ride facilities.

 

The second e-BRT line follows the same itinerary as former bus line two, connecting the centre of Bayonne to the centre of Tarnos in 20 minutes. It serves the main activity hubs in the conurbation, including three secondary schools, the town halls of Bayonne and Tarnos, shopping and leisure centres featuring cinemas and sports parks, the Basque Coast hospital centre, the Bayonne SNCF train station and the new Tarnos park-and-ride.

 

The seven vehicles of the fleet will run on an extended timetable (from 6am to midnight on weekends (11pm in the short-term due to Covid-19 restrictions) and every day in summer, at 15-minute intervals during the day.

This new line will increase the transport offering by 25 per cent and has a target to increase ridership by 50 per cent

Built by the manufacturer Irizar, the e-buses are 18 metres long, emit no air pollutants and claim to offer considerable reduction in noise and vibrations. The vehicles benefit from a dual charging system: fast if carried out at the terminus (five minutes on average) or slower if carried out at the depot at night (three to four hours).

 

The introduction of the line has been organised to coincide with the overhaul of the 24 stations to facilitate access to the vehicles for people with reduced mobility, deploy passenger information terminals (displaying arrival times in real time) and install automatic ticket machines.

 

A park-and-ride facility has also been created at the Tarnos/Garròs station to encourage the use of public transport. The latter is free for Chronoplus network users and has 400 spaces, 145 of which are dedicated to car-sharing.

 

Worldwide, Keolis Group operates more than 4,000 vehicles running on alternative energy, which represents about 20 per cent of its total bus fleet.

 

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