Paris mayor raises transport concerns for 2024 Olympics
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has raised significant concerns about the readiness of the city’s transportation system for the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games, scheduled to begin in late July.
Hidalgo, in a recent media interview, predicted that many areas in the French capital would not have an adequate level of transportation services during the Olympic period, lasting from July 26 to the conclusion of the Paralympic Games on September 8.
Hidalgo pointed to issues such as insufficient train numbers and poor frequency, particularly criticising the Réseau Express Régional (RER), the region’s hybrid rail transit system. She highlighted the strain on services due to the anticipated surge in demand from both tourists attending the Olympics and the regular daily commuters.
The mayor directed her criticisms towards the Ile de France Regional Council, the governing body responsible for the city’s public transport jurisdiction.
“There will be places where (public) transport will not be ready because there will not be enough trains and not frequently enough,” Hidalgo stated on French TV.
However, these remarks have not passed without controversy, drawing criticism from the regional council and the Ministry of Transport. Hidalgo’s absence from meetings after a controversial extended visit to Tahiti has been highlighted by her critics.
Hidalgo also expressed concerns about the readiness of housing for the city’s homeless population, emphasising the importance of building accommodations to support the city’s “Olympic legacy” rather than simply relocating individuals out of sight.
In October, the French Minister for Transport, Clément Beaune, had promised that 100 percent of the Olympic events in the city would be accessible by public transport. Public transport accessibility is a key component of the sustainable vision outlined by the International Olympic Committee for Paris 2024. Even the Games’ official hospitality provider, On Location, has integrated public transport into some of its hospitality packages.
Addressing the potential impact of transportation issues on the Paris 2024 Olympics, On Location’s Executive Vice President of Olympics & Paralympics, Will Whiston, highlighted the scale of the logistical undertaking, stating, “We can confidently say that this is the most sophisticated commercial effort for a major event in industry history.”
The success of this effort, like many aspects of the games, is contingent on the timely readiness of the public transport system.
Image credit: Jacques Paquier