Paris Officials Warn Against Metro Price Hikes During Olympics


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Paris: The mayor's office in Paris has urged the regional transport authority to abandon its plan to near-double metro fares during the Olympics this summer.
Valerie Pecresse, who is head of the Ile-de-France region that includes Paris and is responsible for its transport system, announced the increase for single tickets and 10-ticket passes last month.

She insisted monthly and annual "Navigo" passes used mainly by residents would not be affected.

The measure "is an additional harsh blow to residents of Paris and the Paris region... during this period of inflation during which each euro counts," Emmanuel Gregoire and Pierre Rabadan, the Paris deputy mayors in charge of urban development and sport, said in a letter to Pecresse on Tuesday, seen by AFP.

Workers and volunteers needed to "make the Games a success don't necessarily have a Navigo card" and will be forced to pay the high price for a single or 10-trip ticket, Gregoire and Rabadan wrote.

It would be more difficult to recruit volunteers, and would affect visitors expected to be "mostly French, especially from the Paris region," they said.

The issue has exposed growing tensions ahead of the Olympics between the Ile-de-France region, run by Pecresse of the right-wing Republicans party and Paris city hall under Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Pecresse angrily criticised Hidalgo last month when the mayor said that public transport would not be ready for the Olympics.

Up to 43 percent of the 14 million French visitors expected during the Games would hail from the capital's region itself, the deputy mayors said, referring to estimates by the Paris tourism bureau.

They demanded a meeting to discuss "maintaining the same price" for metro tickets and ensuring public transport was free for all Parisian volunteers.

Paris initially said it would ensure free transport for spectators, but its Olympic and Paralympic organising committee dropped the plan when it revised its budget in 2022.

There has also been growing concern over the quality of service on the metro and suburban trains, as commuters suffer delays and breakdowns.

Pecresse on Tuesday said that Paris's metro and suburban train system were suffering "a worrying new deterioration" and only four of the capital's 16 metro lines showed "satisfactory" results for regular service.

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