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LIFE IN PARIS

Paris public transport: What is running and what are the rules?

As many people in Paris go back to work, public transport services have increased, but there are now strict rules for using services in the capital safely.

Paris public transport: What is running and what are the rules?
Photo: AFP

In Paris the Metro, bus and tram lines have been running a skeleton service throughout the lockdown, but this has now been increased as more people go back to work and shops and businesses reopen.

However, city authorities are very concerned that the crowded conditions will create a major risk of spreading the virus, so there are extra measures in place for anyone using the system.

Technically, the new rules don't come into force until Monday night once they are approved by the Constitutional Court, but authorities are appealing to the public's “sense of responsibility” to follow the rules on Monday as well.

Masks

Masks are compulsory on all public transport in France from May 11th, including taxis. Failing to wear a mask on public transport could net you a €135 fine. On Monday RATP staff were distributing masks to commuters in the larger stations including Gare du Nord.

An RATP employee with a hand gel dispenser. Photo: AFP

Hand sanitiser

It's not compulsory to use it, but many stations now have hand sanitiser gel dispensers in place. These are now in the bigger stations, but RATP says that by June all stations will be equipped. There are also special bins in place for coronavirus-related rubbish – masks, gloves and tissues.

Travel certificates

 

Authorities are particularly concerned about the usually crowded rush hour services and are moving to limit travel to the bare essentials. Large companies have been asked to imposed staggered shifts if possible.

At rush hour – 6.30am – 9.30am and 4pm – 7pm, transport is reserved for essential journeys only and everyone travelling needs to have a permission form (attestation) stating the reason for their journey.

This is a new form and can be downloaded HERE.

Acceptable reasons for travel during rush hour are

  • Travel to and from work if your work cannot be done from home
  • Travel to and from school for pupils and a parent or carer
  • Travel to and from medical appointments if they cannot be made closer to home
  • Travel for urgent family reasons such as providing care to a child or vulnerable adult
  • Travel at the request of police or judicial authorities

Although many people are returning to work, anyone who can work from home should continue to do so during phase 1 (until June 2nd).

If your reason for travel is work, you will also need a form from your employer, stating your hours of employment and that your work cannot be done from home – find that form HERE.

Travelling without an attestation at rush hour can also earn you a €135 fine.

Limited services

Although transport is running again, it is not at the same level as before the lockdown, with fewer services than before and some stations closed.

On the Metro only lines 1 and 14, which are automated, are running a 100 percent service but are only open from 6am to 10pm.

Line 13 is running 85 percent of its normal services while all other lines are running 75 percent services.

Trams are running from 6am to midnight, and are running between 80 and 90 percent of normal services, while the RER suburban trains are running from 6am to 10pm at 75 percent of normal services.

There are also 60 Metro stations closed, see graphic below.

 

In order to maintain social distancing, stickers on certain seats ask people not to use them.

 

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example. 

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