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RATP launches "big bang" to bring Parisians back on the bus

No less than 50 bus lines will be modified by the RATP.
No less than 50 bus lines will be modified by the RATP. LOIC VENANCE / AFP

More than seventy years that the regulars of the buses of Paris and its suburbs had not known such fuss! On the night of Friday 19 to Saturday 20 April, the RATP bus network will be deeply reorganized. No less than 50 lines, representing more than two-thirds of the network, will move at once. "A historical event", in the eyes of Catherine Guillouard, the CEO of the public company: since the post-war restoration following the second world war, the structure of the network "Had changed very little". It was time to adapt it to the evolution of demography and travel in Ile-de-France.

This time, the change is going to be massive. It is "The big bang of the buses in Paris", according to the formula of Valérie Pécresse, the president (The Republicans) of the Region. Three lines are deleted: 53, 65 and 81. Five are created. And 42 others are modified more or less strongly, with revised routes or new schedules, like the line 29, to which the poet Jacques Roubaud devoted an entire book in 2012. In total, some 4,000 buses will be affected.

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By the way, Parisians will have to put new line numbers in mind. Line 67, which goes from the Gentilly gate to Place Pigalle, will, for example, be cut in half. Right bank, its route will be taken by other lines.

Seven hundred additional drivers

At the headquarters of the RATP, the management is confident. There is no question of delaying the big change again, which was originally planned for September 2018. "We will be on time, and buses will run smoothly," assures do we. The company has already recruited over 700 additional drivers and trained them. Current drivers of modified lines have also been prepared. For day "J", some 10,000 agents will be mobilized, as well as 1,500 "ambassadors", to help travelers.

All road works launched by the City of Paris and the surrounding municipalities to accompany the modification of the routes will not be completed. And a little uncertainty remains about the information terminals, those that indicate the expected waiting time at each stop. Not sure that all are updated instantly.

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The objective of this overhaul, announced since 2016, is clear. It's about making the bus again attractive to travelers. Traffic jams, works, demonstrations: for several years, these vehicles have struggled to advance in a very dense Parisian traffic, and their speed has dropped. Rush hour, "The average speed drops to 8 km / h on some major lines of the network," was alarmed the Region in July 2018. This is the case of line 21 (Gate Gentilly-Gare Saint-Lazare, which will become Porte de Gentilly-Porte de Saint-Ouen), the 38 (Porte d'Orleans -Gare du Nord, which becomes Porte d'Orleans-Porte de Clignancourt) or the 94 (Gare Montparnasse-Louison-Bobet, modified Gare Montparnasse-Pont de Levallois), particularly slow.

As a result, the travelers give up taking the bus, and the frequentation of the Parisian network backs down. It fell by 0.6% in 2018, while it progressed for the metro, the RER and the tramway.

A new line to Vitry-sur-Seine

To correct the situation, the RATP, the region and the Mairie de Paris have agreed to increase the supply, and better adjust to the needs. Some 110 additional buses will be put into circulation. In kilometers traveled, the offer will in principle increase by 15%. The effort must be particularly marked in the less well served districts (12e, 19e, 20e). The routes have also been redesigned to strengthen links between the capital and neighboring municipalities, and mitigate the boundary that is the device. This is the meaning, for example, of the new line 25, which will leave the library François-Mitterrand and go to Vitry-sur-Seine (Val-de-Marne).

In addition to the roadworks and commissioning fees, the reinforcement of the network will be equivalent to an additional bill of 39.2 million euros per year.

The operation represents a significant cost. The road works related to this major reorganization (creation of bus lanes, stopping points, redevelopment of intersections, etc.) are estimated at around ten million euros. Added to this are 39 million euros of "commissioning fees", corresponding to the preliminary studies, the recruitment of drivers, the implementation of a new signage … Then, recurrently, the strengthening of the network equivalent to an additional invoice of 39.2 million euros per year.

"This reorganization that we asked for is a positive step, but it does not solve all the problems," comments Marc Pélissier, president of the Association of transport users in Ile-de-France. It is not certain, in particular, that it alone will increase the speed and regularity of buses. The aim of the region is that no line will roll below 10 km / h during peak hours, but RATP did not want to commit to a quantified target.

To improve the situation, the City of Paris has promised to verbalize more effectively "Those who have nothing to do in the bus lanes". These sanctions, however, have not yet been sufficient to solve the problem.

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Denis Cosnard

  • Subways and trams at night in Paris, one Saturday per month from September to March. Six metro lines and three tramways will open on an experimental basis all the night one Saturday by month, from September to March in Paris, announces the president of the Ile-de-France region, Valérie Pécresse (The Republicans) in an interview at Parisian. "We had to give a shot of "pep" to the nightlife in Paris. Trade and tourism professionals were applicants. They have suffered greatly from the crisis of "yellow vests", ransacking in Paris at the weekend. We must give Parisians the desire to go out at night and on weekends in Paris "explained Mme Pécresse. Ile-de-France Mobilités, the transport union of Ile-de-France, has in principle "At five openings a night a year"said the LR leader of the most populated region of France. "Beyond that, you have to open social negotiations and it can take 18 months. We will take stock after 6 months of testing and we will decide whether to sustain or expand these openings on Saturday.added the former minister of budget and higher education. This test phase will concern metro lines 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 14 as well as tramway lines 2, 3a and 3b in the capital. according to The ParisianSaturdays concerned by the opening of the night are already closed: 14 September, 12 October, 9 November, 31 December, 11 January, 8 February and 7 March. "It is not possible to open the metro 24 hours a day, because of the many RATP maintenance projects. There are more than 400 every day », pointed out Mme Pécresse stating that the cost of a single night opening "Is in millions of euros".

Denis Cosnard

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