The rapid rate at which urban areas in Algeria are developing has led to road congestion and growing transport demands. To tackle challenges constraining traffic flow in cities, the government has invested in urban transport solutions over the years. The country launched the region’s first metro line in Algiers in 2011, installed tramways and has a dense network of bus lines.
The single-line, 13.5-km Algiers metro is in the midst of an enlargement programme. The initiative comprises a three-phase, 9.3-km extension of Line 1. The project is estimated to cost AD74bn (€613.8m), and it is being carried out by a consortium led by the Spanish engineering and construction group SENER.
The first segment, which added four stations, was completed in July 2015. It runs a length of 4 km from Hai El Badr to El Harrach. The second phase will link Hai El Badr to Aïn Naadja with two stations and 3.6 km of track. The third, 1.7-km extension at the other end of the line will run from Tafourah Grande Poste to the city’s central Place des Martyrs. The two sections are expected to be operational by the end of 2017.
Another section of the metro line, linking El Harrach to Algiers’ Houari Boumediene Airport is expected in 2021 (see overview). State construction group Cosider will build the link, and 40% of the 9.5-km, nine-station segment had been laid as of July 2017.
The metro system in Oran will entail a 19.7-km line with 20 stations. Construction has been progressing slowly, with the AD138bn (€1.1bn) project now expected to be completed in 2020. Designed for a daily capacity of 32,000 passengers, the metro will connect with the tramway and bus systems.
Algeria’s tramway network is expanding in major cities. In July 2017 the AD28.2bn (€233.9m) tramway in Sidi Bel Abbès was inaugurated. The 14.3-km system is the fourth in the country after Algiers, Oran and Constantine. With a capacity of 302 passengers per journey, the line represents a production milestone of inputs made completely in Algeria. The project was delivered by joint venture consisting of Cital, France’s Alstom, Spain’s Ferrovial, the National Rail Transport Company and Enterprise Métro d’Alger (EMA).
Meanwhile, the Sétif tramway line is expected to commence operations in 2018. The expansion of the tramway line in Constantine, a AD34bn (€282m) undertaking, is expected by 2019, as well as further expansions of the Algiers tramway. Plans for tramways in Ouargla and Mostaganem, however, are on hold and awaiting a more favourable investment environment.
The state-owned Algiers Urban and Suburban Transport Office is also developing a strategy to expand the capital’s public transport system. The city’s outward expansion has required the company to enlarge its bus fleet in stages. In July 2017 the entity announced the acquisition of 280 new buses requiring an investment of AD6bn (€49.8m).
Public spending cutbacks have driven the government to seek public-private partnerships and international agreements to finance its transport investments. To overcome the delays in urban mobility projects, in April 2017 the Ministry of Transport and Public Works announced it would cooperate with the World Bank. Projects under review for investment by the bank include the extension of the Algiers metro, the construction of a metro in Oran and the establishment of a shuttle bus service from Tafourah in Algiers to the city’s international airport.
Technology On The Move
In addition to enhancing public transport links, Algeria is targeting a digital transformation. The EMA aims to modernise the metro service in line with technological innovation. Reaching an agreement with Banque Nationale d’Algérie, electronic payment at Algiers metro stations commenced in January 2017. Electronic payment has been extended to the city’s tramway and cable cars as well, and the system is set to be expanded to Sétif, Ouergla, Constantine and Sidi Bel Abbès. Creating a single universal ticket for all urban transport modes is also currently under way.