Jan 29th, 2020, 01:24 PM

Day 63: Paris Transportation Update

By Liberty Inocencio
Residents in the city of Paris are still left to wonder when the 2-month transportation strikes will begin to end.

The Paris transportation strike began on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, due to government-planned pension reform. The strikes are still technically active, but in the early weeks of January, Parisians started to see transportation services slowly improving. As of Monday, January 21, Paris transportation services were listed as completely ‘normal’ and ‘quasi-normal,’  which include altered hours and/or fewer trains running per line. Many Parisians are still left to wonder if the strikes will slow to a complete stop, or if strikes will continue to affect the cities transportation.

Union strikes around France were sparked in December by the release of details over a government plan to overhaul the pension system for a single universal point-based system, for which workers would accumulate points towards their personal pension. This includes the elimination of the special early retirement regimes, as well as the 42 different regimes. 

The first day of the strike immediately led to a severe halt of one-third of metro operations with only two automatic lines running, the 1 and 14, for the majority of the strike period.

Paris Metro / Image Credit: Creative Commons, Shropshire Bogtrotter

 

In recent weeks, the number of participants in protests has dropped significantly. From the 800,000 demonstrators at once across the country at the beginning of the strike period, to now with 300,000 at the beginning of January. A steep decline in participants can be observed as correlating with the reemergence of transportation services for metros, buses, and the RER. After what became the longest strike since 1930, unions had voted to return to work on Monday, Jan. 21, due to the financial impact. 

As of January 29, all metro lines were in 'normal' operation, with the exception of 2 out of 3 trains running for line 5, and 4 out of 5 trains running for line 6. Line 8 also experienced fewer trains running than normal.  

Although the protest appears to be nearing a halt, an absolute end to the current transportation strikes and a compromise to the pension reform does not seem to be coming soon. As recent as January 24, yet another massive strike forcefully took to the streets with some of the largest unions, claiming to “completely block” transportation. Strikes continued throughout the day as the formal presentation of the reform bill went to the Council of Ministers.

This coming Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, Paris is again, expecting and preparing for yet another strike. City schools are already calling ahead for the closing of the school day as a safety precaution for students.

The current status of the union strikes demonstrates the unknowing future status for Paris residents, union compensation, transportation maintenance, and more. Stay tuned to the Peacock Plume for more updates. 

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