Paris metro.

FRANCE: Paris metro operator RATP will invest an additional €450m in 2009, as part of a spending package to stimulate the French economy announced by President Nicolas Sarkozy on December 4. Much of the money will go on refurbishment and expansion of the rolling stock fleet, station renovations and modernisation and works to improve station accessibility.

Roger Karoutchi, a member of the Ile-de-France regional council and ardent supporter of the Métrophérique project (RG 11.06 p712), welcomed the President’s commitment to provide guarantees for PPP financing which might be used to finance the capital’s proposed orbital metro.

Speaking at UITP’s 3rd metro conference in Lausanne on December 5, RATP President Pierre Mongin reiterated the need to relieve pressure on Paris’ overloaded network. He cited the effect of opening two new stations on Line 13, which had added another 3 000 passengers per day to the already-saturated line.

Although 70% of trips are made between suburbs, public transport’s share in the suburbs is only 23% compared with 64% in the city centre. The proposed orbital route would help to reduce traffic on metro lines 1 and 13 and RER Line A, which currently suffer the worst overcrowding.

Mongin said he favoured building more underground driverless metros such as Line 14 to boost mobility and influence urban development, noting that automation helps to maximise energy efficiency and regulate train operation. A key element is the use of platform screen doors to control passenger flows and train departures, he emphasised.