06/06/2011 AT 07:03
The event was held in the presence of Lemghari Essakl, Chairman and Managing Director of the AAVB (the agency tasked with developing the Bouregreg valley), Loubna Boutaleb, Managing Director of “Société de Tramway” (STRS, the Rabat-Salé transport operator), Paul Moneyron, Senior Vice-President, in charge of Africa and the Middle-East for Alstom, Thierry de Margerie, CEO of Alstom Morocco and Thi-Mai Tran, Managing Director of Alstom Transport Morocco.
In 2008, STRS ordered 44 Citadis tramsets from Alstom. The trams will run on a network of two lines that connect 31 stations and extend over a total of 20 km. The fleet is made up of 19 double tramsets and 6 single bidirectional tramsets, which are scheduled to come into service in summer 2011.
Morocco's first tramway is notable for its accessibility, its high capacity and the levels of comfort it provides. The double tramsets' integral low floor - which is level with the platform - and 12 side doors ensure easy access, especially for people with reduced mobility. Each double tramset is 64 m long and has 118 seated places. They can carry between 400 and 600 passengers during rush hour.
These tramways have been specially designed to meet the operational requirements as defined by STRS. They feature tried and tested equipment that is fitted as standard on all tramways and are the result of feedback about all the Citadis tramways currently in service. A number of the elements that make them up can also be customised, such as the design of the driver's cabin, the livery and the interior fittings. The air conditioning and large tinted glass windows, plus the seating and wide aisles, passenger information displays in French and Arabic, and quiet engine operation have all been designed to ensure pleasant travel conditions. Like the Citadis tramways in service in Barcelona, Paris and Melbourne, Rabat's trams have been designed so that STRS can provide its passengers with a high-quality transport service that is both safe and reliable.
This transport infrastructure project is part of the programme to develop the Bouregreg valley in response to a growing demand for public transport. It will function as a structural feature for the Rabat-Salé urban area and is symbolic for the country as a whole: commencement of the tramway service will herald the reintroduction of this means of transport, a means which existed in the first part of the 20th century as a tool for developing and modernising the country's main urban areas.
To date, more than 1500 Citadis trams have been ordered by 36 cities worldwide. In North Africa, Citadis trams have been chosen in all the towns which already have a tramway network or one which is in the process of being built: Citadis tramways have been in service in Tunis since the end of 2007 and in Algiers since May 2011, and are now going to be running in Rabat. Additional Citadis tramsets are in the process of being built for future lines in Casablanca, Constantine and Oran. Furthermore, more than 60 towns and cities across the world have tramway projects in development, with 20 or so in North Africa. Alstom is the world's second largest transport company and is contributing to the success of the tramway, a means of transport which is helping to develop sustainable mobility, allow urban areas to be redesigned and modernised, while at the same time enhancing their architectural heritage and boosting the influence of cities.
“The commissioning of the Citadis tramway in Rabat highlights Alstom's commitment to its customers to implement the latest generation of rail equipment, accessible to all, and which also represents a means for the development of the country's main urban areas,” stated Paul Moneyron, Senior Vice-President, in charge of Africa and the Middle-East for Alstom.
On 8 May 2011, Algeria's Transport Minister Amar Tou, and the President of the Algiers Metro Authority (EMA), Aomar Hadbi, ushered in the start of commercial tramway service in Algiers, the first Algerian city to possess a modern tram network.
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