The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has said that the transport system in the French capital will not be ready to an appropriate level in many places in the city by the time the 2024 Olympic Games in that city – starting in late July – come around.
Hidalgo has predicted in a media interview that insufficient train numbers, and poor frequency, will affect numerous areas around the city due to the increased strain on services over the Olympic period, which will last from July 26 through to the end of the Paralympic Games on September 8.
The mayor's criticisms of the city’s transport system are aimed at Ile de France Regional Council, the region’s governing body under which the city’s public transport jurisdiction falls.
Hidalgo stated on French TV: “There will be places where (public) transport will not be ready because there will not be enough trains and not frequently enough.”
In particular, the Réseau Express Régional (RER), the region’s hybrid rail transit system, was singled out as an area that will not be ready to cope with the expected demands of tourists brought by the Olympics on top of usual daily commuters levels.
The comments, however, have attracted criticism from those in the regional council, as well as the ministry of transport, who slated Hidalgo for being absent from meetings after the fallout from the Paris mayor’s controversial extended visit to Tahiti.
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Hidalgo also expressed her belief that housing for the city’s homeless will not be adequately ready by the time the games begin.
The mayor of the city stated her desire to see housing for Paris' homeless built in order to support the city’s “Olympic legacy”, rather than simply to relocate them out of sight.
In October, French minister for transport Clément Beaune promised that 100% of the Olympic events in the city would be accessible by public transport for the expected millions of visitors to the city.
Public transport was key to the sustainable vision that the International Olympic Committee had laid out for Paris 2024, with even the games’ official hospitality provider On Location utilizing public transport in some hospitality packages.
Speaking to GlobalData, On Location executive vice president of Olympics & Paralympics made clear the scale of the Paris 2024 logistical undertaking, saying: “We can confidently say that this is the most sophisticated commercial effort for a major event in industry history.”
This, like much of the rest of the games, will no doubt be heavily impacted should public transport not be ready in time.