Transit strike cripples Paris commute

Access to a subway station is closed during a strike by the RATP affecting underground transport lines in Paris on Friday. Photo by Ian Langsdon/EPA-EFE

Sept. 14 (UPI) — Parisians had to find alternate ways to get to work Friday morning after the city’s biggest public transit strike in nearly 13 years crippled subway and bus lines.

The strike shut down 10 of the city’s 14 subway lines and two-thirds of the public buses. Some working lines were partially operational.

The shuttering left commuters and tourists scrambling to get to and from work using bicycle- and scooter-sharing systems. Some residents used their own vehicles, causing more than 236 miles of traffic jams during the evening commute, more than double the usual.

Transit workers were protesting President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to overhaul France’s pension plans — consolidating 42 public systems.

Workers in the RATP, the agency that operates Paris’ transit system, retire at an average age of 55.7, less than the 63 average of most French workers. The RATP pension system compensates transit workers for working underground, but Macron wants to even out the retirement age across all systems.

“We work in difficult conditions, with schedules and times that are difficult,” union representative Jean Christophe Deprat told The New York Times. “We work most weekends, New Year’s Christmas. The guy finishes at 2 in the morning. There are suicides on the tracks. We’ve accepted these difficulties, and were conscious of them. But we have certain compensations to make up for it.

“There are not advantages. These are compensations.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here