Ile-de-France public transport on the verge of saturation

More than two years into the pandemic, some metro lines have virtually returned to pre-Covid-19 ridership levels as frame rates have dropped.

Crowded platforms and passengers crammed into the trains. More than two years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ile-de-France residents are once again experiencing the “nightmare” of rush hour public transport.

“I have trouble getting into the metro, sometimes I have to wait for the next one because there are too many people. I feel a little oppressed”, explains a user. Another user feels “overwhelmed”.

“There are a lot more people and every day of the week, even Saturday and Sunday, it doesn’t stop,” says a Francilienne.

“We are often very tight, and I have the impression that there are less,” notes another resident.

Teleworking not smooth enough

With the rise of teleworking since 2020, use of the metros and RER had fallen sharply. Thus, the transport offer has been adapted according to this tariff. According to Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM), overall transport use is now 85% of that of 2019.

A decision that does not pass with car users according to a study published last week by the Paris Region Institute, the use of telework focuses mainly on the days of Friday and Monday. Result, some days are more saturated than others.

The director of Transilien Sylvie Charles also called last Thursday to “better smooth” over the week the home-work journeys.

Lines 11 and 12 saturated

And while the crowd is rising, the majority of the RATP network is still on reduced offer. Only metro lines 7, 9, 13 and 14 are currently at 100% capacity in terms of frame rate.

Result, according to IDFM data relative to The Parisian, the situation has become absurd on certain lines. Users are present on line 11, between Châtelet and Porte-des-Lilas, attendance now reaches 97% compared to 2019. However, traffic is currently much lower compared to 2019, with 84%.

On the 12, depending on Mairie d’Aubervilliers in Mairie d’Issy, the share of metros during rush hour is only in September 2022, 85% compared to September 2020. At rush hour, you have to know how to elbow, because at the same time, attendance is estimated at 86% of that of 2019.

Less staff, less money

How to explain this situation ? “The first and most decisive factor is the choice made by Valérie Pécresse within IDFM, to reduce the transport offer”, points out Fabien Guillaud Bataille, regional councilor for Ile-de-France, at the microphone of BFM Paris Ile-de-France.

In addition, the economic health of IDFM is singled out by the elected official. “The Ile-de-France Mobilités transport authority has lost 4 billion euros”.

Finally, according to Fabien Guillaud Bataille, the saturation on the lines can be explained by “the total disorganization of the RATP”. According to IDFM, about 100 out of 2,500 metro drivers are missing.

The current situation does not help

And then another factor has come to upset the transport habits of users in recent months. “The evolution of the price of gasoline means that there are people who have returned to transport when this was not the case before”, advances François Gau, deputy general manager of Alyce.

For Ile-de-France residents, complications in transport should not improve in the near future. A new day of strike is scheduled for November 10 in public transport in the region. The union’s objective is clear: zero metro and zero RER.

Ella Jelidi, Gabrielle Marie Lourenco and Alicia Foricher

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