Belfast Telegraph

National Express to operate more buses in Morocco than UK under £860m contract

The company is set to run around 700 buses in Casablanca next year, carrying 100 million passengers.

National Express has operated in Morocco since 1999. (Shaun Fellows/National Express/PA)
National Express has operated in Morocco since 1999. (Shaun Fellows/National Express/PA)

By August Graham, PA City Reporter

More National Express buses will be operating in Morocco next year than across the UK after the firm signed a billion-euro (£860 million) multi-year contract to move into Casablanca.

The bus operator’s Spanish and Moroccan division, ALSA, said it will provide around 700 buses, a new payment system and scheduling in the country’s largest city and economic capital.

The up to 15-year contract starts in November, initially putting 400 buses on to the city’s streets. Next year, a further 300 buses will roll out and the combined fleet will carry around 100 million passengers annually.

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The move nearly doubles the bus company’s presence in Morocco. (National Express/PA)

It is National Express’s second win in the country in three months after it started running 400 buses in the capital, Rabat, in August.

Chief executive Dean Finch said: “This nearly doubles our presence in Morocco, which had already doubled in August with Rabat’s successful start-up.

“We will now operate more buses in Morocco than the UK. We look forward to serving the people of Casablanca soon.”

The contract will initially run for 10 years, the company said, with the option to extend for five more if it performs well. It builds on National Express’s 20-year history in Morocco, after starting with 50 buses in Marrakesh in 1999.

It is set to have 1,744 buses in the country by 2021, transporting 405 million passengers and generating 157 million euros (£136 million) in turnover. It is the sole operator in five of Morocco’s six biggest urban areas, the company said.

“It is particularly pleasing that our track record for service excellence in Morocco was an important reason for our success,” Mr Finch said.

The deal follows an extension of National Express’s second-largest transit contract in the US as it penned a 7.5-year renewal for the 420 million dollar deal in Boston.

Mr Finch said the company’s reputation was “crucial” in winning the expansion in the east coast city.

PA

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