In advance of Thursday, December 5, the promised beginning of endless strikes by rail workers in France, the SNCF and RATP agencies in charge of public transportation services announced on December 3 how commuters would be affected. National rails, commuter trains, international rail travel, and Paris’s metro and bus service will all see deep cuts in service.
The SNCF, which manages the country’s rails, can only promise that 10% of service will be unaffected. According to Anne Ogier, SNCF Group spokesperson, at a meeting in Seine-Saint-Denis, commuters and travelers should expect one in ten TGV trains to run, as well as one in ten Intercités trains and one in ten Transilien (commuter and RER) trains. International traffic will be disrupted as well: half of Eurostar and about a third of Thalys trains will be canceled.
“The transport plan is extremely limited. … The mobilization is extremely strong, the network is extremely disrupted. The level of traffic will be lower” than the one observed during the 2018 strike against the reform of the railroader pension status, the SNCF spokesperson said.
The RATP’s announced disruptions in Paris are massive. “In order to guarantee a minimum service to passengers during peak hours (6:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.), the company has put in place a transport plan concentrating human resources on the network’s structural lines (RER A and B, metro lines 1, 4, 7, 9 and 14),” noted the company in a statement.
There will be no metro service on lines 2, 3, 3bis, 5, 6, 7bis, 8, 10, 11, 12 and 13. Traffic will be “very severely disrupted” on line 9 and “severely disrupted” on lines 4 and 7. Lines 1 and 14 will operate normally thanks to automation, but will be extremely crowded during peak hours because of travelers rerouting to use the two lines. RER A and B will run partially, during peak hours. And only one-third of the city’s buses will run as usual.
The unions leading the strikes have called them “renewable,” meaning that the strikes will continue without end until few enough members in the union want to continue. Disruptions for the next day’s traffic, which will vary depending on how many rail workers show up for work, will be announced no later than 5 p.m. the day before, on the app Assistant SNCF and the website for rail changes, and the app RATP and the website for Paris area changes.
TGV Inoui, Ouigo, and Intercités tickets will be able to exchanged or refunded “at no charge or extra cost,” even if they are nonexchangeable or non-refundable tickets, said the SNCF spokesperson.
The RATP has partnered with private companies in the transit sector to offer alternatives at a discounted rate. The full list of companies and the discounts available are listed here.
Featured image: Stock Photos from Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock