Paris’ metro and suburban train system are suffering “a worrying new deterioration”, the French capital region’s transport authority said Tuesday, with just eight months to go before the city hosts the Olympic Games.
Publicly owned transport company RATP “needs to get back on its feet”, said Valerie Pecresse, president of the Ile-de-France region which includes Paris and chief of the IDFM regional transport authority.
Only four of the capital’s 16 metro lines showed “satisfactory” results for regular service, Pecresse added.
Meanwhile three of the five RER suburban rail lines operated by national rail company SNCF were “problematic”, she said.
“All of the lines have to get back to their contractual punctuality objectives as soon as possible,” Pecresse insisted.
IDFM believes the transport woes are mostly due to a lack of drivers, while the RATP has highlighted large numbers of abandoned bags causing delays.
Some especially packed lines are also regularly affected by passengers fainting on board.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said last month that the capital’s transport system “will not be ready” for the Olympics, prompting terse exchanges with Pecresse and government ministers.
Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera accused Hidalgo, who is under attack for a costly October trip to French Polynesia, of “playing political games on the back of the Olympics”.
“Will our infrastructure be ready on time? Yes.” Transport Minister Clement Beaune said last week, adding that Hidalgo was “ready to sacrifice France’s image to put out a controversy about a questionable issue”.
The International Olympic Committee also said Thursday that things were heading in the right direction.
“Based on the explanation of all the stakeholders, we are very much reassured… There’s still quite a bit of work that has to be done and that’s absolutely normal,” the IOC’s Christophe Dubi said.