French 'set to take over' Manchester Metrolink

French operator RATP took over the London bus operator London United at the beginning of March this year

IT'S REPORTED that the French operator RATP is poised to take over the Manchester Metrolink concession from Stagecoach.

Although as yet there has been no official confirmation, none of those thought to be involved have issued a formal denial that talks have been under way.

The Manchester Evening News says confidential talks have been taking place, and that the leaders of the ten local authorities affected have now been briefed, with a Stock Exchange announcement from Stagecoach Holdings said to be due tomorrow morning.

The Metrolink network is expanding at the moment, with a new line to Chorlton having been opened last month.

When all additional routes now under construction have been completed, the system will run over more route kilometres than Amsterdam.

The present Stagecoach Metrolink concession has another six years to run. It started in 2007 when Stagecoach took over from Serco.

RATP is the operator of 43 subsidiaries in France and other countries, including the Paris Metro. The Group has an annual turnover of more than 4.7 billion Euros and employs 56,000 people. In March it became the owner of London bus operator London United.

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