take up the challenge of transport, an ordeal before its time

Returning from a business trip to the United States in mid-March, Jeanne, who testifies under her middle name, couldn’t believe it. At Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport, she discovered, at 8 a.m., “a queue of around twenty minutes” before being able to buy, from the vending machine, a cardboard ticket for the RER to Paris. “Very kind agents directed tourists who did not speak French to the machines. » In Lyon, where she lives, the traveler simply places her bank card on the validator to enter the metro, a process with which public transport is equipped in Brussels, Milan (Italy) or London.

Nothing of the sort in Ile-de-France, where the organizing authority, Ile-de-France Mobilités (IDFM), chaired by Valérie Pécresse (Les Républicains), refuses it. The reason given? “We chose smartphone technology, she replied on March 25, during a press conference. And it’s complicated to change it. » Either, “but how are we going to do for the Olympic Games [JO] ? »asks Jeanne.

She is not the only one to ask this question. In the Paris metro, some stations of which are decorated with superb images labeled “Cultural Olympiad”, waiting times are getting longer on the platforms, and incidents are multiplying at bus stops, with drivers missing. While, according to the established formula, “Paris will welcome the world”how will transport work this summer if it struggles to carry out its mission in normal times?

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On paper, everything is planned. Paris promised ” world “ access to 100% of the Olympic sites by public transport. To put it another way, nothing will be done to make life easier for anyone who wants to arrive by car. “The major challenge consists of reconciling three uses: the travel of 200,000 accredited people, millions of spectators and regular travelers”, explains Florent Bardon, national mobility coordinator for the big event. A real tour de force.

As an amuse-bouche, during the evening of the opening ceremony, which will take place, barring unforeseen circumstances, on the Seine on July 26, even access to Parisian train stations would be compromised, whether by taxi , by metro or by bike. No plane will fly within a radius of 150 kilometers around Paris. The following days, until August 11 and the end of the competition, Parisian airports will transfer a record number of oversized luggage, poles, bicycles or canoes.

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