The trains running on most of the network are site specific; the tramway usually can be accessed either by car or by taxis and buses. It differs in that the sections of reserved lanes are enhanced by 14 cm compared to the rest of the street, and can not be crossed by vehicles other than at intersections. Sections in the protected site are enhanced by 6 cm over the street, which can be overcome by an exceptional vehicle for obstacles on the road. There are also sections in which the tram shares the road with other vehicles. The latter case corresponds to passages in narrow streets like the rue d’Ornano Bordeaux.
On a large part of the trail, the tracks are grassed. In curves the lateral side of the rail is automatically lubricated so as to limit the screech of wheels. The maximum noise is limited to 74 decibels.
The trains run from 5 am to midnight (1am on weekends). The frequency at peak hours is 4 minutes, otherwise it is 8 minutes. In Bordeauxitself, which has 230,000 inhabitants or nearly one third of the population of the metropolitan area, 37% of the population, 50% of assets and 64% of schools and students are within 500 meters of a line.
The price for a single ticket is 1.40 euros. A book of 10 trips costs 10.10 euros, a weekly ticket 9.70 euros, a monthly pass 38.20 euros, and an annual ticket 376 euros (per the rates in effect in 2009). There are also group rates and discounts for students, seniors and families. Tickets and passes can be used for travel by tram or bus. Tickets can be purchased at machines present in most stations. One ticket allows unlimited validations throughout the TBC network for 1 hour, at most, between the first and last validation.
The trams and buses in Bordeauxoperate under the Metropolitan Bordeaux (CPC) delegation, and are managed by the company Keolis, a subsidiary of SNCF. Keolis succeeds Veolia Transport, which had the market eight years until the end of 2008. The new contract started on May 1, 2009, and should lead to a restructuring of the bus network with the creation of suburb-suburb lines and suburban-downtown lines, and installation of a network for bikes. Restructuring is to begin in February 2010.
Line A of the Tramway of Bordeaux.
This is the longest of the three lines and the only one to have a branch in the end. Line A runs through the town from west to north-east, crossing the Garonne on the stone bridge. With the second phase completed in 2008, the line is 19.9 kilometers long and has 41 stations. The stations are separated by 447 meters on average. The line meets with two other lines in the city center, but in separate locations.
The line starts at Merignac, common in the suburbs west of Bordeaux, runs through the new neighborhood shopping center in Bordeaux Meriadeck, connects with Line B in the City Hall station and Line C in Porte de Bourgogne, then crosses the Garonne on the stone bridge towards Buttiniere in the town of Cenon. On the right bank, it splits into two branches at the Buttiniere station; one branch serves the northern section of the city and Lormont Bassens/Carbon- Blanc, while the other branch serves Floirac Cenon and south.
The coverage of the right bank of the Garonneis intentionally oversized compared to the current need: the authorities’ objective is to stimulate the development of these neighborhoods that have always been handicapped by weak links to the city center. This is because there is only one bridge, and it was built in the early nineteenth century. Studio La Bastide is located on the right bank between the Thiers Benauge and Galin stations.
Line B of the Tramway of Bordeaux.
Line B runs north-east to south-west. It has a length of 15.2 km and includes 31 stations. It serves the Bordeaux communes of Talence and Pessac. The Deposit-Achard workshop is located near the northern terminus of this line. Line B also allows connecting with the two other lines in the city center.
Line C of the Tramway of Bordeaux.
Line C is the shortest of the lines. It has, since February 27, 2008, 8.3 kilometers of line and 17 stations. It is normally served by shorter trains that can be replaced, if necessary, by longer ones. Line C meets with the other two lines in the center of the city.