FRANCE: The RATP supervisory board has confirmed the appointment of former Prime Minister Jean Castex as the new Chief Executive of the Paris transport operator, replacing Catherine Guillouard who stepped down at the end of September.
Now 57 years old, Castex served as Prime Minister of France in 2020-22. Known to be enthusiastic about railways, he was closely involved with the restoration of the Paris – Nice overnight trains and the revitalisation of the Perpignan – Rungis overnight freight service for perishable produce.
Prior to his appointment, announced on November 15, Castex was interviewed by the Sénat and Assemblée Nationale about his priorities as CEO. He emphasised that a key task would be to improve co-operation between RATP and its partners, notably the regional transport authority Ile-de-France-Mobilités.
Other priorities include improving the level of service and achieving better punctuality, which will mean addressing the current shortage of drivers for both the metro and bus networks. Enhanced cleanliness, safety, and the provision of better passenger information are also critical. Castex emphasised that he wanted to improve the friendliness of RATP’s 5 500 staff towards their customers.
Suggesting that he was committed to attracting new passengers to public transport in the Paris region, in order to encourage more sustainable travel, Castex said he was looking to advance the development of electronic ticketing. He expressed the hope that 40% of visitors attending the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris would be able to travel using mobile phone tickets.
Meanwhile, the new CEO has been tasked with preparing RATP for market opening, which is set to begin with competition for parts of the Paris bus network in January 2025.
In terms of international development, where RATP Dev is an established player, he emphasised that Paris could offer world-leading expertise in the operation of fully-automated metro lines.