Your Great StoriesVillejean-Université station, Rennes7H55

14,000 students travelling through time

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By shifting the timetables of 14,000 students by just 15 minutes, we managed to provide a smoother, more comfortable journey for everyone. Now that’s a more shared form of mobility.


7:55am, Villejean-Université station, Rennes

“It was 7.55am, seven years ago, and I still remember it as if it was yesterday. I had taken the metro and as was the case every day, students crammed inside the carriage and then got off at Villejean-Université, the stop for Rennes University 2. As usual, employees from workplaces in the surrounding area jostled their way to find a (tiny) space sandwiched between students. In short, extreme peak hour traffic affected everyone travelling on the metro, whether they liked it or not.

“At the time I was the manager for Customer Service at Keolis Rennes, and after listening so many times to the same complaint, my ears started going red. We had to be able to do something, right? No actually, we HAD to do something. As the transport operator, it was our responsibility to improve the situation. So I organised a number of meetings – with the timing department for the PTA in Rennes (yes such a department actually exists, to analyse the schedules of residents!), companies, the hospital and the university.

“We needed to smooth out patronage during the extreme morning peak and the flow of people leaving the Villejean-Université metro stop, improve the comfort of passengers, reduce waiting time, and not create disruption elsewhere on the network.

“And thanks to all the discussions and analysis, we found a solution. By making the Masters and 3rd year undergraduate students start at 8.15am, and the 1st and 2nd year undergraduates at 8.30am, we cleared up the network for the common good of residents. A short time travel of 15 minutes changed the lives of people, on an everyday basis.

Six years later, following the initial trial, the timetable changes were made permanent. Metro carriages are no longer overcrowded, platforms are easily accessible across the line, and passengers are now smiling again. If someone had told me that I would one day have the power to put a smile back on the face of tens of thousands of people every morning, I’m not sure I would have believed them.”


Sébastien L.
Customer Service Manager


More about this Great Story

Employees at Keolis share the same values: We Imagine, We Care, We Commit. These values promote our approach and the key principles that guide our activities and behaviour.

A pioneer in shared mobility, Keolis works and acts under all circumstances as a responsible urban and regional player, a more humane mobility, so that each journey is more pleasant. This is what we did by enriching exchanges and facilitating interaction between various actors in Rennes, to participate in the transformation of territories in an open and collaborative approach.