A joint venture (JV) between French firm RATP-Dev and Saudi Public Transport Company (Saptco) has been selected for the contract to operate a new bus network in Riyadh.

The Saudi Arabia High Commission of Public Transportation has recommended the award, and the deal is subject to a final approval from King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

The letter of award is expected to be issued by mid-March.

The network includes an 83-kilometre bus rapid transit system, two circular routes as well as community bus lines and feeder buses.

It is part of Riyadh Public Transport Project (PTP), which also covers the construction and implementation of the planned metro system.

A total of $22.5bn-worth of construction contracts for the metro were awarded in July 2013.

Bids from four consortiums were submitted for the bus network in June last year. The three other bidders were MV Transportation (US)/Dallah Hajj Transport (local), Gursel Turizm Tasimacilik (Turkey)/El-Seif Engineering Contracting (local) and National Express Group (UK)/Hafil Public Transport Company (local).

RATP-Dev, a subsidiary of the France-based RATP Group, has a number of JVs in place in North Africa where it supports the operation of trams and buses in Algeria and Morocco.