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TRANSPORT

It’s not in the Alps: What you need to know about France’s newest and longest cable car

France’s longest cable car was inaugurated on Friday May 13th , 86 years after it was first planned.

It's not in the Alps: What you need to know about France's newest and longest cable car
(Photo by Lionel Bonaventure / AFP)

Think cable cars, think winter sports in the snow-covered Alps. But France’s longest cable car, which has just opened to users, is not in what many would consider to be the mode of transport’s natural habitat.

The delayed 3km Téléo service opened in Toulouse on Friday, May 13th, 2022, two years later than scheduled because of Covid-19, and links the Oncopole, on one side of the Garonne, and the l’université des sciences et de médecine Paul-Sabatier, on the other.

(Photo by Lionel Bonaventure / AFP)

It is expected to carry at least 8,000 passengers a day, up to 1,500 an hour in each direction. Journeys will take 10 minutes, and the 14 cars – designed by Paolo Pininfarina, the designer of Porsche and Maserati, and which can accommodate 35 people – will run every one-and-a-half minutes at peak times.

In comparison, travel between the two sites can take as long as 30 minutes on the roads in rush hour. Even during quieter periods, journey times in cars is 11 minutes.

The project cost €82.4 million, more than had been anticipated because of objections to the original route, which would have had a station in front of the lycée Bellevue. But, thanks to its three-cable system, the service operate even in high winds. It has been designed to run even when the autan wind – which can reach 108km/h – is blowing.

A telecar service was first planned in 1936, when Albert Bedouce, the city’s mayor, was the Minister of Public Works in Léon Blum’s first government. Plans were shelved at the outbreak of the Second World War.

The scheme was reopened in 2004. But, a lack of long-term support from elected officials meant work did not start until 2018.

(Photo by Lionel Bonaventure / AFP)

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STRIKES

Strike to ‘strongly disturb’ Parisian bus and tram services on Monday

Strikes over working conditions means that bus and tram lines in the French capital will be running at 60 percent capacity on Monday, with further disruption expected later in the week.

Strike to 'strongly disturb' Parisian bus and tram services on Monday

A fresh wave of strikes at the RATP – the company responsible for operating public transport in Paris – will result in widespread disruption on Monday. 

While Metro and RER services will run as normal, bus and tram services will operate at a significantly reduced capacity. 

In a notice to passengers published on Sunday evening, the RATP said that some bus lines would be closed completely. Only two out of three buses will run on the lines that remain open during the daytime. The night bus service will run as normal. 

On average, three out of five trams will run on Monday. 

Normal traffic is expected on tramlines T5, T6 and T7. 

On T1, only one out of two trams will run, with a ten minute interval between each shuttle. The line will only run between Gare de Noisy and Gare de Gennevilliers. Operation times are limited to 06:00-11:00 and 15h:00-20:00. 

On T2, only one out of two trams will run during rush hour. The line will connect Porte de Versailles and Puteaux with shuttles running every ten minutes during rush hour and every 20 minutes outside of this. Between Pont de Bezons and Charlebourg, shuttles will run every five minutes during rush hour and every fifteen minutes outside of this. 

T3a will operate one out of every two trams, exclusively between Pont du Garigliano and Porte d’Italie. The line will run from 06:30-11:00 and 16:30-21:00. 

T3b will operate half of all trams, exclusively between Porte de Vincennes and Porte de la Chapelle. Traffic will only run from 06:00-10:30 and 15:30-20:00. 

The T8 line is by far the most disrupted with only one in every four trams running. The line will only operate between Saint-Denis – Porte de Paris et Epinay–Orgemont. Trams will run between 06:00-10:00 and 16:00-20:00. 

Further strike action is expected on Wednesday, although RATP are yet to disclose the scale of that later disruption. 

What is behind the strikes? 

Bus and tram workers are striking over proposed plans to open up RATP services to subsidiary companies, with changes to working conditions.

As of January 1st, 2025, all bus will be transferred to the subsidiaries or competing companies who won bids issued by the regional transport authority, Île-de-France Mobilités. 

RATP plans to put the new working conditions into effect – those that would have been set to apply in 2025 – as early as July. These changes would impact at least 18,000 drivers. 

Specifically, drivers will fall under the “territorial social framework” (CST), the minimum legal framework for working hours, which will require 35 hours of work per week (and 37 hours per week for select drivers). Currently, the RATP’s rules regarding working hours are more advantageous, with the average driver working 33 hours a week (excluding overtime and travel time). 

Union management has been fighting against these proposed changes for over a year, having already held a strike March 25th, which impacted over 30 percent of bus lines in the Paris region.

Now, they calling for mobilisation to “defend their working conditions” again.

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