It’s a common complaint from visitors and residents alike: filthy, litter-strewn Metro stations, smelly stairs and walkways, and hot, humid platforms.
It should bring hope, then, that the operator RATP – which runs the Metro and other rail services around Paris – pledged on Monday to invest €70 million ($92 million) per year, over five years for a mass clean up of the network.
From October, there will be 3,400 unannounced, monthly check-ups by grime inspectors on the daily work of the 1,000 cleaning staff employed by RATP.
The inspectors will be tasked with ensuring a proper standard of cleanliness and odour removal from thousands of trains and 366 stations, including the notoriously dirty Châtelet-les-Halles station.
A further €40 million will be spent to try to put a plug the longstanding problem of leaks on Paris Metro, which can cause humidity, deterioration of walls and platforms, and slippery or stagnant puddles inside the station.
Between now and 2015, works on 70 stations like Bastille and Palais-Royal will aim to make the city’s more than 100-year-old underground network watertight.
The investment plans come just days after it was revealed that RATP had lost €100 million in fares last year alone, due to unscrupulous commuters evading ticket inspectors.
The same report found that fare-dodgers had cost national rail provider SNCF a whopping €300 million in 2012.
As a result, RATP chief Mongin on Monday called for a hike in fines, as a way to put off potential fare-dodgers.
"We punish fare-dodgers too modestly," he was quoted as saying by French daily Le Figaro.
"So I will be asking the state for an increase in the amounts of fines, as a deterrent for these kinds of violations, especially for repeat offenders," he added.
At present, those caught without a proper ticket on the Paris metro, and buses in and around the capital, face fines between €30 and €60.
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