RATP CEO Catherine Guillouard was worried Wednesday about "the great unknown" of the return of travelers at the end of confinement on May 11 in the Paris region, its network should only operate at 15% of its capacity due to the distance rules. The public company plans to run an average of 75% of metros -85% on line 13, very busy, and 100% on automatic lines 1 and 14-, 75% of RER A and B, 75% of buses and 80 to 100% of trams, detailed Catherine Guillouard during a hearing in the Senate. The progress is remarkable, since the RATP currently only runs 30% of its vehicles.
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RATP hastily printed a million stickers
"We started a race against the clock to prepare for the best" before the announced return of travelers on May 11, knowing that the government did not know until April 28 that the rules of social distancing - passengers to be held at least one meter from each other would apply to public transport, said Catherine Guillouard. Given these rules, the "carrying capacity" will be limited to about 15% of normal, she noted.
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The RATP hastily printed a million stickers, being installed in stations and vehicles, to help passengers comply with these rules, she said. "The big unknown factor of May 11 is the inflows into our networks" despite all the efforts made, acknowledged Catherine Guillouard. Clearly, we do not know how many Ile-de-France residents will take the RER, metro, tram or bus with deconfinement, among the 96% who have deserted them.
"Obviously, we cannot commit to permanent compliance with safety distances in all respects given the size of the network", she noted, adding that the RATP would report to the authorities "situations that could be difficult" . Stations or lines could be closed in the event of a problem.
"We will not have staff in each wagon"
According to the scenarios, it would require 1,500 to 5,000 people from "outside forces" to monitor the network, in addition to the 3,000 agents deployed by the RATP. "We will not have staff in each wagon, it is not possible, we do not have the staff," she said, adding that the buses would be much less supervised. "Everything will also depend on the behavior of citizens," said Catherine Guillouard, who "offers a pact to travelers" to whom she asks "a form of discipline".
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The RATP will however install by the end of June a thousand dispensers of hydroalcoholic gel in its stations, starting May 11 with the main ones. "We will try to provide extra masks the first week" of the deconfinement, added the manager. Wearing a mask will be mandatory from May 11. Travelers will also be able to buy masks and gel from vending machines for drinks and treats, she said.
What is the financial situation of RATP?
On the financial level, Catherine Guillouard estimates that the coronavirus crisis should make “between 300 and 350 million euros” lose to the RATP, which will be added to the 50 million of the strike in January. The Régie also faces additional expenses: 55 million for the purchase of sanitary products and an increase of 90 million in its cleaning budget.
With cash of 2.8 billion as of May 5, it does not intend to call the state for help, according to Catherine Guillouard. RATP had ended 2019 with a net profit of 131 million euros, for a turnover of 5.7 billion.