Public transport failing Paris

Both the RATP and SNCF continue to claim bonuses despite terrible service

Report says network has failed to keep up with demand, with poor service, inadequate leadership and spiraling costs

PUBLIC transport is failing the people of Paris, a report by France's top ombudsman has found.

The network is not fit for purpose, the quality of service has degraded, there is inadequate leadership and projects are overrunning both in time and costs, concluded the report by the Cour des Comptes.

A rise in passenger numbers, up 17 per cent on the metro and 24 per cent on city train routes from 2001-2009, has seen no subsequent increase on the number of services, which are over-burdened.

Overall, 11.5 per cent of urban trains ran late last year, with some parts of the RER seeing more than one in three trains running late.

The report criticises the SNCF and rail builders RFF for focusing on TGV lines rather than the urban network.

Cour des Comptes president Didier Migaud said: "The network is close to saturation in certain parts, and it is getting harder to meet the demands of residents.

"The rail network is struggling to adapt to changing urban populations. While nearly three quarters of journeys today are between suburbs, the network is still focused on the centre of Paris or links between the centre and its inner departments."

The RATP, which runs Paris public transport, was spared criticism because of its increasing amount of investment.

Investigators pointed out that despite the failings of both the RATP and SNCF, neither was being penalised by the authorities. Both continued to claim performance bonuses for their services; the RATP takes 60 per cent of its bonus and the SNCF 18 per cent.

The 1,700km of public transport routes in Paris are used by 7.4 million people every day. In 2008, the network cost €7.8bn to run.

Long-term projects to relieve the strain, such as the Grand Paris metro or Arc Express, which explore options for high-speed metros around the capital, are still under consultation.

Photo: RATP

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