Bahrain Metro’s Phase One will comprise two lines that will run 28.6 km long and include 20 stations.

Bahrain's Government has approved the start of Phase One of the Bahrain Metro Project and decided to proceed to the tender stage as an integrated public-private partnership (PPP) project.

This follows a market consultation event held in March this year which received highly positive response from the private sector, said Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohamed.

 The project is expected to be procured through a two-stage global and competitively bid public tender process comprising Request for Qualification (RFQ) followed by the Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFQ process is expected to commence this month (November).

Bahrain Metro’s Phase One represents the first phase of the government’s ambitious plans of developing a 109-km rail-based urban transit network (metro). It will comprise an elevated corridor with two lines extending an estimated length of 28.6 km with 20 stations and two interchanges.

The Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications, which is managing the project, aspires to develop a state-of-the-art rail transport network with the following technical features:

• An elevated rail-based urban transit system with the latest technology, following international standards based on traditional steel rail solutions;

• A fully automated, driverless GoA4 system operation;

• Initial capacity of approximately 5,000 passengers per hour per direction (PPHPD) with the scope for scalability and expandability to 23,000 PPHPD for each line.

The metro project is estimated to cost around $2 billion.

Bids will be open to interested participants as consortium partners and downstream contractors able to undertake the comprehensive scope involving design and construction of civil structures like viaducts and stations, in addition to procurement, operation and maintenance of the transit system over the contract period as well as financing the cost of the project.

According to the ministry, the selected private partner will implement the project on a DBFOMT (design, build, finance, operate, maintain, transfer) basis with a contract period of 35 years. The demand risk will be borne by the government while the private partner will receive availability-based payments along with performance-based deductions and incentives. The government will provide a pre-determined amount as construction grant to the project company to fund a small portion of the capex. The sites required for the metro corridor and the associated depot facilities have been acquired by the government at its own cost and will be handed over to the private partner at the start of the project.

Reiterating the significance of the project, Kamal Mohammed said: “This project marks an important milestone as it will provide a fast, comfortable, reliable, sustainable and modern transportation system in the kingdom, thereby improving the standards of living.”

Ridership in the initial few years of operation is expected to be around 200,000 per day, with growth expected as more travellers shift from using their private cars to the metro system.

The ministry has appointed a team of financial, technical, and legal advisors led by KPMG as the lead transaction advisor, Egis as the technical advisor and DLA Piper as the legal advisor for procurement of this project on a PPP basis.