Paris commuter service to change name from ‘RER’ to… ‘train’

Commuters in Paris will soon never have to catch another "RER" train again in their lives, with transport chiefs to get rid of the name, that has become synonymous with delays, breakdowns and strikes.

Paris commuter service to change name from 'RER' to... 'train'
Photo: AFP

Transport unions in the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France are planning to scrap the name “RER” from the city's commuter train service.

The current RER services link Paris to its suburbs via various lines: RER A, RER B, RER C, RER D and RER E.

But in future the name RER, which stands for Réseau express Regional,  will not longer be present in stations, on signage or on maps.

From July 1st transport chiefs instead plan to replace it by a simple word… “train”.

The aim is to make it less confusing for travellers, especially those who are not from Paris, who might not know what RER stands for.

The Union of Transports in Ile-de-France (STIF) believes just putting the word “train” on all signage and maps will make it clear what the RER actually is.

The change shouldn't be too complicated. 

As well as the existing RER the Ile-de-France region already has commuter train services that are named by letter: H,J,K,L,N, P, R and U.

So authorities can keep the letters of the current RER trains, A,B,C, D and E.

So for example those looking to change onto the RER B at Gare du Nord in future will just look for the sign for “Train B”.

The name change will also be accompanied by a change in the colour codes of the lines.


Paris commuters to get 'comfortable' new RER trains (with air conditioning!)


Parisians so fed up with commuting they’d rather take a pay cut

Why would most Parisians living in around the French capital take a pay cut to avoid their daily commute? Could it be the three letters RER? And a new survey shows just how much better those living in other French cities have it.

Parisians so fed up with commuting they'd rather take a pay cut
Photo: AFP
A survey, carried out by French jobs website RegionsJob, has revealed that a whopping 76 percent of Parisians and people living in the Paris region are willing to take a pay cut to avoid the hassle of their daily commute. 
“I applied for another job in a subsidiary of my company, a large automobile group, which is 15 minutes from home. I'm probably closing the door on a lot of opportunities, but quality of life is most important,” Vanessa, a mother of two little boys told Le Parisien newspaper which first revealed the results of the survey. 
Although the survey didn't reveal just how much of their wages Parisians were willing to sacrifice to get a shorter journey to work, the Parisian aversion to using public transport is perhaps hardly surprising given how many delays and disruptions occur on the capital's transport network.
In fact in January, Paris commuters were warned that things would get even worse over the next eight years by rail authorities who said that certain train lines would have to shut completely for several days on end as maintenance work is carried out.
And in October a ranking of the best and worst Metro lines was revealed, with the stats put together by transport authority Île-de-France Mobilites showing that only 85.2 percent of RER D trains arrived on time during rush hour. The line was labelled the worst service for punctuality but many others weren't much better.  
In 2015 a Paris banker, Jean-Louis Roura who had had enough led a group of disgruntled commuters to launch an unprecedented bid to sue Paris transport chiefs because they could never get to work on time. 
“It’s a nineteenth century transport system that is not fit for the 21st century,” he told The Local at the time. 
Paris: Train and RER services at Gare du Nord hit by severe delays
Photo: AFP
Paris vs. the rest of France
Unsurprisingly the research by the RegionsJob site, which showed that just over three quarters of people working in the French capital are ready to earn less for an equivalent position in exchange for a shorter commute, also shows strong disparities between the Paris region and provincial cities. 
Public transport is used far more in Paris, with cars only accounting for 29 percent of commutes while this figure is reversed in other parts of France, the study showed. 
The study showed that 53 percent of employees in the Paris region have to travel for more than 45 minutes between home and work. This compares to 20-30 percent in France's medium-sized cities. 
And 45 percent of respondents living in Paris said they aren't satisfied with their travel time compared to 30 percent in French cities with up to 100,000 inhabitants. 
And there's no doubt that workers in other cities have a much better time of it when it comes to getting to and from the office. 
In the French city of Nantes, which was recently named the best city in France to work, commuters don't have to worry about a miserable journey, with the local ‘Nantais' population raving about the public transport system
Similarly in Rennes, named the second best city in France for work by the same survey, the compact city center is easily walkable. 
One of the problems could be that employers in the capital don't give their staff any more transport assistance than elsewhere in France despite travel times being longer in the capital.
This helps includes, more flexible working hours (19 percent of employees in Paris, 18 percent in France) and help with the purchase of a bike or a scooter (5 percent in Paris, 10 percent in France). 
One of the more surprising statistics revealed by RegionsJob was how slowly bikes have been taken up as way of getting to the office in Paris, with the mode of transport accounting for just 4 percent of trips. 
By comparison, in large provincial cities, 19 percent of commutes are done by bike, according to the study. 
Sixteen ways public transport in Paris would be far better
Photo: AFP