The British company that operates the Dubai Metro will also run the emirate’s tram system.
Serco, a publicly traded outsourcing company, has won the Dh105 million contract to run the Dubai Tram as it bolsters its Middle Eastern operations.
Yesterday, Serco said that it had agreed a five-year deal with the Dubai Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) to operate the 10.6-kilometre tramway.
Serco said that the contract, which came into force last month, included 15 months of preparations before the tram’s opening in November 2014 as well as a requirement to recruit and train staff.
The first section of the tramway, which in time is to expand to run 14.6km next to the Al Sufouh Road from Dubai Marina to the Police Academy, is to connect 11 of the planned 17 stations along the route when it opens next year.
Initially 11 trams will run, carrying about 27,000 passengers a day. By 2020 the RTA estimates that 25 trams will transport 66,000 people a day.
A consortium of contractors including France’s Alstom and Belgium’s Besix is to build the project and maintain it for 13 years; the contract can be extended for additional five years.
The deal is the second UAE contract win for Serco in as many weeks. Last week, the company won a four-year deal from the Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Centre to provide shared services to more than 50 government departments.
Serco, which won the 10-year contract to operate the Dubai Metro in 2009, is seeking to strengthen its regional foothold as it continues to battle tougher market conditions at home.
Last week the company was relegated from the FTSE 100 index of leading London-listed shares.
Serco shares had fallen 8.5 per cent since the end of June on news that the British ministry of justice had asked police to investigate allegations of fraud at the company. It accused Serco staff working on a government prison van contract of falsifying documents to make it look like prisoners had arrived at court on time.
Along with competitor G4S, the company has also been accused by the ministry of overcharging the taxpayer for running electronic tagging schemes.