Nov 20th, 2019, 03:30 PM

Are You Prepared for the December Strikes?

By Drew Barnes
SNFC train
Image Credit: Creative Commons user "Ciccio Pizzettaro"
The Paris Transportation Strike and Getting Around Without Public Transport

An unlimited transportation strike is being planned for December 5 and will last until the end of that month due to changes in the French pension system. This leaves workers and students concerned about how they will get around the city of lights during this time. But, there are still a few different options for public transport users to get to their destination. 

On September 13, the metro shut down, creating congestion and chaos on the streets of Paris. Many students were late to class and many people’s Friday night plans were thrown into disarray. This is due to a strike organized by the transportation unions in response to a drastic change in the French pension system proposed by President Macron.

Image Credit: Creative Commons user "Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Develop"

The French Social Pension program is based around multiple different systems of determining how many “points” a worker receives when paying into the program. President Macron hopes to simplify this system. He claims that he wants to create “a universal system of pensions where a euro contribution gives the same rights, regardless of when it was paid, regardless of the status of the contributor." 

As changes in the pension system are being proposed, one issue keeps coming up again and again. According to Reuters, the focal point of the issue is on the age and time at which a person can receive money from the pension program and fully retire. 

Over the summer it was proposed that the age for when pensions can be fully accessed should be raised from 62 to 64. This created a massive backlash from France’s biggest union and was removed from the bargaining table. Macron proposed a movement towards a system based on the amount of time worked in a field. 

Image Credit: Creative Commons user "Public Transport"

Transportation workers are highly opposed to these changes due to the somewhat unfavorable conditions in which they work, which places them firmly in opposition to Macron’s system based on time working in a field. This was the inspiration for the September 13 strike and is the reason behind the upcoming December strikes. According to RATP unions, From December 5 until the end of the month, there is the possibility of a full public transportation strike that will be announced 24 to 48 hours in advance. 

So how can students navigate the city without the metro during such a hectic time in the academic calendar? There are a few options. 

One of the most common ways to get around Paris without public transport is a bike or scooter share program. Even on non-strike days, you can see students zipping around on scooters scattered around the streets of Paris. 

Image Credit: Creative Commons user "RuiPereira"

Lime scooters cost one euro to unlock and then cost 40 cents every minute used. Bird functions similarly but only costs 15 cents per minute. Velib bikes work with your Navigo pass and a week pass is 15 euro plus one euro for every 30 minutes of use. Uber bikes are currently free to unlock but cost 30 cents per minute of use. 

While prices will be high, Ubers and taxis are also viable options for getting around. Finding a group of four people near you and splitting the price between you will be the most cost-efficient way to travel the roads during the strike. 

If all else fails, you can always just walk.