“It’s a revolution in mobility”, welcomed the press to the socialist mayor, also president of the metropolis, Nathalie Appéré, stressing that “three out of four Rennais” are less than 600 meters from a station. metro, less than ten minutes on foot.

Wider trains, large bay windows: this new line will have, over 14 km, 15 stations between Rennes and the neighboring towns of Cesson-Sevigné and Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande, connected in 21 minutes.

At full capacity, this automatic metro, partly aerial, should transport 110,000 people a day, with a frequency of 67 seconds between trains at peak times.

Work had started in 2014 for commissioning initially planned for 2020, but they have accumulated delays, between shutdown due to the Covid-19 epidemic and technical problems.

For Ms. Appéré, it was “one of the largest civil engineering projects at the national level” and she does not rule out possible “service interruptions or breakdowns, initially”.

– Some adjustments –

“Rennes have sometimes forgotten that line a, it took two years for us to reach this level of regularity and reliability. And so, we must be aware that, on line b, there are still settings and things that will be improved“, she recalled.

This new generation of light automatic metro, produced by Siemens Mobility and called Cityval, is a “system under development”, warned Stéphane Bayon de Noyer, project director at Siemens Mobility.

“When you develop a system, you inevitably have hazards, you inevitably have trials where you have not achieved performance,” he continued.

A “contractual dialogue” has begun with the metropolis on the payment by Siemens Mobility of late penalties, according to Mr. Bayon de Noyer. They could amount to between 30 and 40 million euros, according to information from the regional press.

“We will approach this subject in serenity”, concluded the manager.

In 2002, Rennes had been the smallest city in the world to have a metro and had opted in 2001 for a second line despite an overall cost for it, according to the metropolis, of 1.342 billion euros.

Access to line b will be free until Sunday and around fifty events – dance, magic, circus, music and theater – will take place in four of the new stations.

The commissioning of line b is accompanied by a redeployment of the bus network on October 24 and the opening of three park and ride facilities.

In February 2023, a “limited traffic zone” will be tested in the historic center of Rennes, where only residents, deliveries and emergency services will be able to enter.