Saudi Arabia’s Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) has delayed the award of the contracts to operate and maintain (O&M) Riyadh Metro’s six lines.

The contracts were expected to be awarded in October, following the completion of the bid evaluation process.

However, it appears that the contract award will take more time than expected due to some changes required by the ADA.

MEED earlier reported that three firms, including France’s RATP Dev and Keolis, as well as Italy’s Ansaldo, now part of Japan’s Hitachi, were the frontrunners for the contracts.

Results of the bid evaluation process were understood to have been forwarded in July to the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, whose final approval is required before the contracts are awarded.

ADA received the initial round of submissions for the contracts in December last year. Final submissions were received in May.

ADA has said it is likely to select two or three firms to operate and maintain Riyadh Metro’s six lines

Three Riyadh Metro packages, collectively worth $23bn, were awarded to separate consortiums in 2013, with 2018 set as the target completion date for all lines at the time. A 12-month delay has been anticipated, with 2019 set as the new target completion date.

The completed metro network will be 176.5 kilometres long (7.8km as a common section for Line 4 and Line 6), with underground, elevated and at-grade sections. It will have a total of 85 stations and 25 park-and-ride locations.

Coincidentally, RATP Dev and Keolis formed a joint venture to bid for the contract to operate and maintain the first phase of Qatar’s Doha Metro and Lusail tramway, which is expected to be awarded soon. The other bidders for the Doha schemes are UK’s Serco, France’s Transdev and a team of UK’s Arriva and Germany’s DB International.