Al Sufouh Transit System under construction on Jumeirah Road near Media City, Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Dubai Metro operator, Serco, has won the contract to operate the Al Sufouh Tramway, which is scheduled to begin operations late next year, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced.

The RTA signed the 75-month contract with Serco on Sunday, beginning from August 2013, that will require them to recruit and train employees as well as manage daily operations.

Apart from the Dh105 million contract with Serco, the RTA also signed a maintenance contract with the tram project contractor Alstom-Besix consortium for 13 years, which can be extended for an additional five years.

The agreement was signed for the RTA by Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA and for Serco by David Campbell, CEO of Serco for Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Detailing the process undertaken to select the operator, Al Tayer said: “Serco has been selected for the operation of the Dubai Tram system following a tender put out by the RTA for which a group of world-class companies specialising in rail operation and maintenance took part. Following the assessment of proposals we received, Serco has been nominated for submitting the best offer. The company has experience in operating and maintaining a number of metro and rail lines across Europe and Australia.”

He said that according to the contract Serco will operate the tram system, handle the revenue generated through the system and manage the sale and top-up of Nol cards. The contract also mandates Serco to protect RTA assets that fall under its operation.

Al Tayer added that Serco and Alstom will work in coordination with each other to offer the best service to commuters, which will involve safety, security and maintenance of the system.

Work on the Al Sufouh tram project has hit top speed over the past few months, with the first train scheduled to arrive by December this year.

The sophisticated transit system will serve Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai Marina and Al Sufouh districts, linking with Dubai Metro at two locations, while also connecting with the Monorail at Palm Jumeirah.

The entire network of the Dubai Tramway extends 14.6km alongside Al Sufouh Road with the 10.6km-long phase one starting from Dubai Marina to end at the Tram Depot near Dubai Police Academy.