Bordeaux's transport system representing 100 million trips per year and 54.7 million passengers (France)

By Raf Canters / Updated: 01 Aug 2014
Bordeaux Metropole faces the challenge of providing an efficient and accessible public transport system for 720.000 inhabitants. Moreover, the Bordeaux Metropolitan Area serves 1.1 million citizens.
Bordeaux has grown rapidly over the past decade. The city was faced with an influx of traffic and identified the need to develop an alternative mode of transport.

The tramway plan in Bordeaux

In 1997, the city adopted the tramway plan and today the tram network in Bordeaux consists of 3 lines built at a cost of €1 billion. The network covers 44km, with 33km of extensions scheduled for 2013 and a fourth line planned in 2016, increasing the network to around 80km. The tramway network in Bordeaux has several notable features which have helped secure its success and retain the character of the city:
  • In the historic centre (10km of lines), the trams run on a ground-level power supply which prevents the overhead power lines from obscuring the city’s famed architecture. It also means that the trams make very little noise.
  • The trams operate as part of a coordinated public transport network whereby the bus-tram-rail system is timed to ensure the most convenient interchanges for users.
  • Tram stops are designed in such a way that they become focal points for new squares. Meanwhile, the network has ensured that many of the city’s traditional squares have become tranquil areas. Some of these spaces, such as Pey-Berland Square or the Bourse Square, sit atop underground car parks, allowing cars to access the city but with minimum impact. The city centre itself has become predominantly pedestrianised.
  • The interior design of the tram – its arrangement of seats and standing places, including seats that are folded during peak times - as well as its smooth movement, means that the trams become “mobile social spaces”, with a layout that encourages conversation and social interaction. Other features that ensure a comfortable journey include platform-height floors (allowing disabled access), air-conditioning and on-board video surveillance.
  • As a fast, reliable and convenient means of transport, trams in Bordeaux tend to attract more passengers than buses. The environmental impact of this method of transport has also had a positive effect on the city: the trams use a quarter of the energy used by a bus, and the quality of air in the city centre is now better than in the suburbs.

100 million trips per year

Today, Bordeaux’s transport system represents an average of 100 million trips per year. Around 63% of all journeys on the public transport network are made by tram, and in 2008 the trams carried around 54.7 million passengers.

Source: European Urban Knowledge exchange Network (in English)

More information:
Collective passenger transport