By Andy Sambidge
Transport operator says it has inked five-year extension to run to September 2019
Serco Group plc has announced that it has signed an extension to its contract with Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to continue to operate and maintain the Dubai Metro.
The five-year extension which will run to September 2019 is valued at approximately £355m ($573m), with an opportunity to extend for a further two years to 2021.
Serco first provided pre-launch consultancy and planning to the RTA from 2007, and began operating and maintaining the initial 10 stations on the Red Line from its official opening and inauguration in September 2009.
Subsequent expansion has seen the Red Line grow to 29 stations, the Green Line open in September 2011 with a further 20 stations, and in 2012 Serco added engineering and maintenance responsibilities.
The Dubai Metro is the world's longest fully automatic driverless train system with a current network length of 75 kilometres.
Operating 50 trains at peak times that feature a maximum running speed of 90km an hour, Serco said in a statement that its 2,000 staff have continued to "deliver world class safety and operational standards" while also expanding ridership with 30 million journeys undertaken in the first 12 months after launch, growing to over 127 million in the most recent 12-month period.
Christopher Hyman, group chief executive of Serco, said: "We are delighted to be extending our contract to operate one of the world's most advanced urban rail systems.
"The Dubai Metro is truly iconic and it gives us great pride to continue our partnership with the RTA, play a part in the development of integrated and sustainable transportation systems for Dubai's residents and visitors.
"This award reflects the high level of confidence the RTA has in Serco to continue delivering world-beating standards in safety, performance and customer service, and will support further strong growth opportunities that we see across the Middle East region."
Mattar Al Tayer, chairman and executive director of the RTA, added: "We are pleased to select Serco to continue operating the Dubai Metro given their experience in operating and maintaining a number of metro and rail lines around the world."For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.