The Bordeaux tramway runs to the airport! It will begin its commercial service from the end of April, if the tests which have just started this Wednesday go smoothly. Eagerly awaited in metropolitan France, this new link will put Bordeaux city center just thirty-five minutes from the airport. The commissioning of this extension of almost five kilometers serving five stations and which cost 95 million euros is announced for the end of April.
6,500 passengers per day envisaged
According to forecasts, about 6,500 travelers per day are expected on the extension of this line A and as the president of the metropolis Alain Anziani (PS) likes to remind, it is a new service which is far from only concerning travelers from Bordeaux-Merignac airport.
“The share of air passengers is around one-sixth of these 6,500 travellers, explains Aurélie Hervé, project manager at the Métropole. The rest of the users are interested in access to the business area and the Mérignac Soleil shopping centre. Airport passengers will therefore represent approximately 17% of users of the extension of the tram line.
After a deliberation for the creation of the line adopted in 2014, a consultation and a public inquiry took place. It had shown that very few people took public transport to get to the airport area and that the shuttle, managed by Keolis, was fairly infrequent. “There will always be people who will come by car, but from the city center there is now a possible connection with the airport”, adds Marion Hervé.
“It’s a very good thing to be able to reach the airport with safe travel times, especially in a congested area, adds Simon Dreschel, director of Bordeaux-Mérignac airport. The tram will also make it possible to reduce the number of cars in the area and relieve congestion in car parks. The 8,000 employees of the airport platform will thus have an alternative for their daily journeys.
A project that took almost ten years to get off the ground
“The original choices were to serve (with the tramway) the most populated areas of the agglomeration”, points out Alain Anziani. Employment and activity have developed a lot in this sector of Mérignac and, in 2014, a decision was adopted to create this link to the airport. After the essential stages of studies, public procurement, consultation, etc. the authorization to declare public utility was issued at the end of March 2019 and work began three months later.
But it is first a question of carrying out deviations from the networks “a construction site within the construction site”, explains Emmanuel Mazet, general manager mobility at Bordeaux metropolis. “Land acquisitions have been slowed down by the Covid period, since exchanges with local residents have become complicated,” he adds. The tram work itself began in January 2021”.
In the coming weeks, technical checks will be carried out by the Métropole teams before they hand over to Keolis for the “blank run”. Some 700 drivers will in particular familiarize themselves with this new sector served by the Bordeaux tram network. At the end, a prefectural decree will validate the commercial commissioning, planned for the end of April.
In the meantime, the metropolis calls on motorists traveling in the area to be careful because they are not yet used to the running-in tram crossing crossroads there.