A sex scandal has blown up at RATP, the publicly-owned company that runs the trains, trams and buses in Paris.

"/> A sex scandal has blown up at RATP, the publicly-owned company that runs the trains, trams and buses in Paris.

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Sex scandal at Paris transport authority

A sex scandal has blown up at RATP, the publicly-owned company that runs the trains, trams and buses in Paris.

According to Le Point magazine, an anonymous letter was sent to the head of RATP and to the six unions representing employees at the company detailing the sexual exploits of a man who went by the nickname ‘the King’. The man concerned was a senior official in the UNSA union.

The letter, sent at the end of June, alleged that several female employees offered sexual favours in return for career advancement.

According to the letter, women “who refused to have sex had a hard life.” 

Men who witnessed the events were harassed by the perpetrators to make sure they kept quiet. “They were penalised in their careers because they disobeyed the demands of the King,” said the letter.

The letter claimed the union’s offices on the boulevard de Sébastopol were used for the sexual encounters, as well as several hotels around Paris.

RATP management said an internal inquiry was launched and the letter has been passed to the Paris prosecutor for further investigation. Le Point reported on Thursday that judge Roger Le Loire will lead the inquiry.

The union involved, Sud, has also lodged an official complaint against the man concerned for offences including sexual harassment and pimping. Newspaper Aujourd’hui reported the pimping charge relates to an offer made by the self-styled ‘King’ to the head of the Sud union, Olivier Cots, at the start of the year.

Cots told AFP that the ‘King’ had “benefited for several years from the complicity of his union and of management.” 

“Everyone knew about it,” he said. “If anyone complained, it was made clear to them they should keep quiet.”

A spokesman for the UNSA union, Frédéric Sarrassat, denied this, claiming they had “never been made aware of these incidents.”

The ‘King’ himself was suspended from the union in early January for reasons not connected to the charges.

Aujourd’hui quoted various sources within RATP as saying that “salacious, even sordid” stories had been circulating for years, “but no one ever dared to give evidence because the person concerned had a lot of power.”



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Parisians spend total of 23 days a year on transport

A new study shows Parisians spend on average around half an hour longer on public transport each day than their compatriots in other cities around France.

Parisians spend total of 23 days a year on transport
Photo: AFP

92 minutes. That’s the amount of time on average that people in the Paris area spend on public transport each day of their lives.

And if the figure is only applied to those who work then it rises to 113 minutes each day.

So basically that’s over an hour and half sitting, or more likely standing, on the Metro, RER trains or buses according to a new study by France’s Urban Development institute.

And Parisians and those living in the surrounding Ile-de-France region are spending 10 minutes more on public transport than they did in 2010 and more than a quarter of an hour more than they did in 1980.

The study said the rise is not linked to work or studies but by people spending more time travelling for “private activities”.

And the chart below shows how it’s worse for men than women.

What’s more depressing is if the average daily time on transport is multiplied to work out how much time a resident of the Paris region spends on public transport each year.

And we work it out to be 588 hours or 23 days.

Now that’s a long time to spend holding on to a greasy pole on the Metro or squished under the armpits of fellow commuters on the RER each year.

The study showed that the Metro and the RER in Paris have overtaken cars as the most used means of transport to get around.

Unsurprisingly the inhabitants of other cities around France spend less time than Parisians on public transport.

For example in Lyon, the average time is 67 minutes a day. That’s just one minute more than the folks who live in Lille and Bordeaux. In Marseille it was 64 minutes.

The reason why it’s worst in the Paris area is that people’s workplaces are often far from where they live and that the density of traffic means that the average speed of many journeys is slower in the capital.

The survey found that one in five people in the Ile de France area passed the two hour mark for time spent on public transport compared to 12 percent in cities around the country.

The study notes however that Parisians accept these longer times “more or less in good grace” in exchange for the bigger labour market.