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Paris prepares for 'Black Friday' with massive transport strike

Passengers struggling to get onto crammed Paris metro, 2007.
Passengers struggling to get onto crammed Paris metro, 2007. ©Reuters

The RATP has warned people against travelling on public transport on Friday as unions prepare to stage a mass walk-out in a row over pensions.

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All of the unions on the Paris transport network (RATP) have announced that they will be taking strike action on Friday 13 in protest over plans to reform the pension system.

RATP, which runs the Paris Metro, bus and RER suburban train network, has advised people “to keep their travel to a minimum” on that day.

The strike is the first in a series of actions planned in protest over President Emmanuel Macron's proposed reform of France's pensions system.

The reforms would simplify the current system, with a standardised pension regime rather than the current 42 different ones.

Macron has also said he is in favour of basing retirement age on the number of years worked.

Transport workers, who have certain exemptions for early retirement, would be particularly affected by the changes. Metro drivers, for example, can retire on full pensions at the age of 55.

How the Paris transport network will be affected

  • Metro: 10 Metro lines (2, 3, 3bis, 5, 6, 7bis, 10, 11, 12 and 13) will be completely closed with others severely disrupted. Paris’s two automated lines (1 and 14) to run as normal but risk being overcrowded.
  • Suburban trains (RER): Lines A and B - no trains during off-peak hours (between 9.30 am and 5pm), one train on line A and one train in five on line B during peak times. Line B connects Paris to Charles de Gaulle airport so passengers with flights to catch should plan alternative routes. Lines C, D and E and the Transiliens (operated by SNCF railway network not RATP) to run as normal.
  • Bus: heavy disruption with only one bus in three of the regular timetable. 
  • Trams: no trams during off-peak hours (9.30am to 5.20pm) on lines T1, T2, T3a, T6, T7 and T8. One tram in three during peak hours. T3bis and T5 lines to run throughout the day, but only one out of two.

For any last minute changes to the above, check the RATP website.

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