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METRO

Praying to singing – all the things you can be fined for on the Paris Metro

The long list of rules to follow when taking the Metro in Paris include the usual ones concerning pets, bicycles and loud music. But there are also a few surprising ones you should know about if you don't want to risk getting a fine.

Praying to singing - all the things you can be fined for on the Paris Metro
Pets, forgotten luggage, bicycles, and failing to wear a mask are just some of the things you could be fined for in the Paris Metro. Photo: AFP

The vast majority of passengers probably don’t even know about most of these rules, and might explain why quite a few people ignore them.

But here’s a list of things you could receive a fine for if the transport police catch you:

Not paying for a ticket

Forcing your way into the Metro station by jumping the barriers (something that you will almost certainly have seen several people doing in Paris) will cost you a €60 fine on the spot, and will go up to €110 for the following 3 months if you are caught twice.

If you are caught travelling without a valid ticket you’ll have to pay €50 on the spot, or €100 if you decide to pay later, so make sure you hold on to that tiny piece of paper throughout your journey.

Transport operator RATP has stepped up on controls in the past few years, declaring a war on train fare dodgers who cost the transport network a whopping €1 million a day, with 8.9 percent of passengers not paying the correct fare or not paying at all.

Forgetting your luggage

Leaving a bag or a suitcase on the Metro will cost you a €60 fine on the spot, or €110 if you pay within the following two months. Lost or abandoned luggage is a regular cause of service halts as it triggers a security alert.

Putting your feet up on the seat

This is also susceptible of a fine

Being loud and disturbing other passengers

This one may seem surprising, given that the Metro is hardly a peaceful place. Most of the time it’s noisy with buskers or people playing loud music. But only those with an authorisation are allowed to play in the Metro’s passageways. They must gain their spot by first passing an audition for Metro Musicians.

For everyone else, what the RATP calls trouble de la tranquilité (disturbing the peace of others) incurs a €60 fine and this includes aggressive begging.

Smoking

Breaking the no-smoking rules is slightly heftier fine of €68.

Failing to wear a mask

Masks have been compulsory on all public transport in France since May 11th last year. However, in Paris and other French towns and cities people are required to wear masks on the street at all times.

Fines for not wearing a mask start at €135, and you can also be fined for not wearing one correctly ie covering both your mouth and nose.

Bringing your bicycle

Bicycles are generally not allowed on the Metro, except on Line 1 on Sundays and public holidays until 4:30pm. Taking them on the escalators is forbidden, so even if you decide to do this, you may have to carry it up quite a few stairs since not all stations have lifts.

Scooters are allowed but should be folded and should definitely not be ridden at speed along the platforms (although you will see people do this).

On the other hand, you are allowed to take your bicycle on the RER trains, but only outside peak hours, so not between 6:30am and 9am or between 4:30pm and 7pm. 

Distributing leaflets

The distribution of leaflets or flyers, whether political or commercial, should be done in Metro trains or stations.

Bringing your pet

Dogs are allowed on the Metro without a ticket, but small ones must be carried in a closed bag or basket, and big dogs must be muzzled and on a lead. 

However on other public transport like SNCF trains, owners will also have to buy a ticket for bigger dogs, albeit at a reduced tariff.

Praying

As a public place, laïcité rules (the view that religion should be exercised in private) apply on public transport. Praying on the Metro is therefore not allowed. 

Talking

Ok this is not actually prohibited, but the Académie de médecine recently suggested commuters avoid speaking and answering the telephone when using public transport, even with a mask on, to avoid infecting other passengers with Covid.

Since the 2 metre physical distancing rule is practically impossible to follow in the Metro on January 22nd the Académie suggested replacing this with the simple precaution of keeping your mouth shut, in order to prevent further spread of the virus variants.

The recommendation received mixed reactions from passengers, but the question of how this would be enforced is a whole other debate.

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TRAVEL

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed

Striking airport workers have blocked part Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, with some flights already delayed by at least one hour.

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed
Striking airport workers outside Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt | AFP

Last month, trade unions representing workers at the Aéroports de Paris (ADP) – the city’s Charles-de-Gaulle-Roissy and Orly airports – called for a strike between July 1st and July 5th in an ongoing dispute between French airport workers and bosses over contract renegotiations.

A second wave of protests are expected next week, after a strike notice was filed for July 9th.

Tensions mounted on Friday morning as some 400 protesters staged a raucous demonstration at CDG’s terminal 2E, which mostly deals with flights outside the Schengen zone, as police officers looked on.

At Orly airport, meanwhile, some 250 people demonstrated “outside”, while a small group was inside.

The dispute is over a long-term plan by ADP to bring in new work contracts for employees at the airports, which unions say will lower pay, job losses and a reduction in rights and bonuses for employees.

The strike is being jointly called by the CGT, CFE-CGE, Unsa, CFDT and FO unions, who said in a joint press release that the proposals will “definitively remove more than a month’s salary from all employees and force them to accept geographical mobility that will generate additional commuting time”.

Unions say that staff face dismissal if they do not sign the new contracts.

ADP said on Wednesday that it expected ‘slight delays for some flights but no cancellations’ to services – but it urged travellers to follow its social media operations for real-time updates.

On Thursday, the first day of action, 30 percent of flights were delayed between 15 minutes and half-an-hour.

ADP’s CEO Augustin de Romanet had said on Tuesday that ‘everything would be done to ensure no flight is cancelled’. 

ADP reported a loss of €1.17 billion in 2020. 

Stressing that discussions are continuing over the proposed new contracts, the CEO called for “an effort of solidarity, with a red line: no forced layoffs.”

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