Five readers of Le Parisien, aged 20 to 65, questioned the former Prime Minister and CEO of the RATP on the quality of traffic, the accessibility of the network, pollution and even the 2024 Olympics.
An interview that looks like a step-by-step. One year afterthe dark autumn that the RATP went throughthe CEO of the board since November 2022, Jean Castex, spoke with users of the metro, bus and RER for the Parisian. During this meeting, five readers aged 20 to 65 questioned the former Prime Minister on the quality of traffic, the security and accessibility of the network, pollution and even the 2024 Olympics.
Regarding traffic, Jean Castex immediately emphasizes that “the situation has improved significantly“, after one “very difficult year“. The president of the RATP recognizes it however, “the account is not there yet”, in particular because of the gap which separates the most modern lines (1, 14) from the most dilapidated (7, 8, RER B). Thanks to a recruitment planunpublished», the RATP would have managed to partially stem the shortage of bus drivers: only 4% of the workforce would still be missing. Consequently, the “production» buses and metros has improved significantly, now close to 90% and 95% of supply. The situation should improve further with the arrival of new trains, “more capable» and less electricity consuming, the MF19. The first prototypewill be deployed on line 10 in 2025», ures Jean Castex. The oldest lines, such as 7 and 8 will be subject to accelerated renewal, the leader still promises. “We will discuss with IDFM (Île de France Mobilité, Editor’s note) of an anticipation of modernization, apparently it is technically possible», specifies Jean Castex.
“Coexistence with bicycles”, a difficulty for the circulation of buses
Regarding the persistent inconvenience on bus traffic, the CEO puts forward certain external causes, such as “works, coexistence with bicycles and scooters», which would represent almost six points of regularity lost. As for the RER B, co-managed by SNCF and IDFM, Jean Castex recognizes that it is “black dot» of the Ile-de-France network. “New trains were ordered but their delivery was not completed until 2030», he pleads, in response to a user visibly at the end of his tether.
The manager was also questioned about the accessibility of the network, still marginal with regard to the metros. On this point, Jean Castex wanted to clarify user expectations. “Even if I had billions of euros more, I’m not sure it would be technically possible“, he pleaded, emphasizing the “network historically so deep, tangled“. However, some lines will be partially accessible, such as line 11 in its current extension. This subject is not taken lightly at the RATP, ures Jean Castex. “The RATP has set up an accessibility committee (…), meetings have been multiplied by two“, he specifies.
During its repeated incidents (breakdown on line 4 this summer), the RATP was singled out for its lack of information for the traveler. However, it is one of the “priorities» from the CEO. He ures that he “will carry out investigationsto understand why information is sometimes lacking in bus stations, and also “continue driver trainingso that they better speak to travelers during incidents.
Another pitfall of the Ile-de-France network: security. Jean Castex recalls that RATP has its own security forces, the GSPR (network protection and security group), which IDFM finances. Understaffed just a year ago, the GSPR would now have sufficient numbers (960 agents). Salary negotiations were carried out, as with bus drivers, to strengthen the workforce. “The next step» for the group will be joint actions with the municipal police of the capital. An agreement with customs has also just been signed. According to Jean Castex, “the figures of the prefect of police show that the acts of violence on the network are decreasing“. There remains the case of women’s insecurity. “In addition to the GSPR we have 5300 trained agents “who organize “ exploratory walks“, ures the leader. There “descent on demand» will also be widespread on evening buses, recalls Jean Castex.
“No excess mortality” linked to pollution on the network
The former prime minister finally spoke on two current issues: pollution in the metro and the Olympics. As a reminder, the Régie is accused by the Respire ociation of “deception and unintentional injury” because of a degraded air quality within the Paris metro. On this sensitive subject, Jean Castex played the card of caution. “The figures you give were taken by people who did not have access to these standards», replies the manager to a user who mentions pollution of 18 micrograms/m3 on line 5. “We do not deny that there is a subject“, however ures Jean Castex, who calls for “objectiveize the measures to be put in place» . The board has already launched a plan which consists of “increase fans» and switch to an electric braking system. “To date, studies on the subject show no excess mortality across the entire RATP cohort.» wanted to reure the former Prime Minister.
As for the Olympic Games, do not panic either, pleads the leader. “With the Olympic visitors, the attendance will be equivalent to that of a month of October. It’s more than a summer but in proportions that we know how to manage“, he notes. There will, however, be moments of “ strong tension», and «Vigilant point», in the west of Paris in particular. The event will be subject to a specific recruitment plan. To avoid the risk of a strike which could disrupt the smooth running of the games, the management willbegin discussions with labor organizations this fall“, indicates Jean Castex.