Olympia 2024 in Paris: Will public transport last?

Olympia 2024 in Paris: Will public transport last?

With 18 months to go before the Paris Olympics, the question of the smooth functioning of public transport in the Ile-de-France region is worrying. The Grand Paris Express, designed to help welcome millions of visitors, is delayed in delivery. Despite the measures taken by the RATP and Ile de France Mobilités, these seem inadequate given the challenge of the crowds that await them.

120 years after the last Olympic Games in Paris, the City of Light is once again hosting the games. The 2024 Olympic Games are taking place from July 26 to August 11, 2024 and the Paralympic Games from August 28 to September 8, 2024. The various locations were spread across Paris, including many events in western Paris and in the Paris suburbs. Traffic will be particularly tested with 13 million visitors expected. In particular, the northern section of the RER B around Le Bourget and Stade de France. Public transport in the Ile-de-France region has been suffering from significant disruptions since September, and the issue of crowds is a concern. In 2022 there will be 4 million daily journeys on public transport in the RATP network. When we add the millions of visitors, there is reason to question whether the network is ready to capitalize on the flow.

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The delay of the Grand Paris Express

This ambitious project aims to create 4 new metro lines crossing the suburbs of Ile de France without crossing Paris. At a cost of 35 billion euros, the start of lines 15, 16, 17 and 18 was planned from 2024 to 2030, depending on the section and line. In particular, lines 16 and 17, planned for 2024, would have been very useful to connect the various Olympic Games sites and the airports (Bourget and Charles de Gaulle) in the 93. They will finally be delivered for 2026 on the Saint-Denis Pleyel and Clichy – Montfermeil section. Baptiste Pegeon, EELV deputy and administrator at Ile de France Mobilité (IDFM), admits this in an interview with our colleagues: “We don’t have the human resources, not all the facilities have been created yet, we see this especially in the transport, in the promises made around the Grand Paris Express, but also in the various Olympic facilities.. The new lines should have helped transport more than 10 million people. A significant number that would desaturate the Paris grid in passing.

Inadequate measures

Given the complications of the work of the Grand Paris Express, on June 8, 2022, IDFM presented a concrete plan to strengthen transport for visitors and athletes. The central measure is the strengthening of the transport offer in the vicinity of sports facilities. To control the flow, RATP recently experimented with a “13bis” line. The Asnières-les-Courtilles branch was separated from the rest of line 13. Thus trains went from Asnières to La Fourche and the only direction north was the University of Saint-Denis. A life-size test to handle the influx of the Stade de France with the goal of the Olympic Games. To facilitate transport from Orly to Paris, launch of the extension of line 14 to Orly for Spring 2024. Tight timing but a significant extension given concerns about the proper functioning of public transport during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

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… by Anouk Billion

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