Police to travel for free as Paris region boosts security on RER trains

Paris region chiefs announce a series of measures aimed at boosting security on public transport around the French capital.

Police to travel for free as Paris region boosts security on RER trains
Photo: AFP

The new security plan was unveiled by Valérie Pécresse the president of the greater Paris region called Île-de-France.

Her aim is make those who live in the suburbs around the French capital feel safer, not least on the RER trains, where passengers have been the victim of some notorious and violent robberies in recent years.

Pecresse said those living in the suburbs outside Paris were the “forgotten ones” when it came to security and safety.

To improve matters French police officers will be given free travel on all public transport in the Île-de-France region.

The move is to try and tempt police officers to take public transport to work rather than their own cars. Laws passed in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks allow police to carry their guns whilst travelling to and from work.

Whilst passengers might not notice them if they were in plain clothes, the police would be expected to intervene if there were problems.

There will also be a massive roll out of CCTV cameras with all buses to be equipped with video surveillance by 2018 and all trains by 2021.

Another 200 special security guards will be recruited to bolster exiting teams that work on buses in the suburbs. They will be given powers to intervene in violence and hold suspects until police arrive.

Some 20 new security teams with sniffer dogs will be rolled out to patrol trains to help deal with the heightened terror threat.

Passengers who want to report security issues can now do so by calling 3117 or texting 31177.

In 2013 official figures revealed that there are an average of 150 crimes reported on the RER network alone, and that attacks on staff had risen.

A survey in the same year also revealed some 60 percent of passengers worried about their safety when taking the RER.

In 2015 the Chinese Embassy even took the step of warning its nationals to stay off the RER system.

The new measures are set to cost €160 million which authorities say will be partly covered by a crackdown on fair dodgers.

Pécresse did not however rule out a price rise in the monthly Navigo travel pass.

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Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.