Mayor Anne Hidalgo says Paris will not have enough trains, and progress also needs to be made on the issue of homelessness.
The transport system in Paris will not be ready in time for the 2024 Olympic Games, according to the mayor of the French capital.
“There will be places where [public] transport will not be ready because there will not be enough trains and not frequently enough,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo told the Quotidien talk show on TMC TV on Wednesday evening.
She said that while the Games infrastructure will be ready, solutions for homelessness will also be a problem.
Nearly 15 million spectators and accredited people are expected to attend the Summer Olympic Games in France in July and August next year.
The transport infrastructure in Paris is already under pressure, with commuters and tourists alike complaining of poor frequency, overcrowding and uncleanliness.
Qu’est-ce qui n’est pas prêt pour les Jeux Olympiques ?
— Quotidien (@Qofficiel) November 22, 2023
“We still have problems in daily transport issues and we are still not reaching the comfort and punctuality needed for Parisians,” Hidalgo said.
The Ile de France (Paris region) Regional Council, led by right-winger Valerie Pecresse, is in charge of transportation in the region.
Hidalgo said the government was also “a little bit” responsible for the situation, adding: “But we do this all together so I’m also concerned.”
The Socialist mayor’s comments sparked anger from her political opponents.
#JeuxOlympiques&Paralympiques: Nous serons prêts avec @ratp @SNCFVoyageurs & @optile_idf. Je remercie tous leurs agents de leur mobilisation depuis des mois pour être à la hauteur! C’est un immense travail collectif qui ne devrait pas être dénigré par une maire absente @CBeaune https://t.co/sOU4HZLW5C
— Valérie Pécresse (@vpecresse) November 23, 2023
“We will be ready,” Pecresse wrote on the social media platform X, thanking transport staff for their efforts.
“It is an immense collective work which should not be tarnished by an absent mayor,” she added.
Transport Minister Clement Beaune, a close ally of centrist President Emmanuel Macron, accused Hidalgo of not being present at committee meetings aimed at discussing transport infrastructure.
“Mrs Hidalgo is not there, does not participate in work meetings but has an opinion for others. What respect she has for our public officials and for Parisians!,” he wrote on X.
Madame Hidalgo n’est pas là, ne participe pas aux réunions de travail mais a un avis pour les autres.
Quel sens du sérieux et du respect pour nos agents publics et pour les Parisiens ! https://t.co/LinbGJ0FZM
— Clement Beaune (@CBeaune) November 23, 2023
Hidalgo added that the situation of unhoused people in the capital was another significant issue.
“I don’t want to take them out and hide them [during the Olympics]. There should be a social legacy,” she said.
“We want to set up housing where they could be as soon as this winter and we’re dealing with it with the regional authorities and the state and we all agree that we have to move forward – but we are not ready.”
She said she wanted to use the Olympics as a chance to find a long-term solution to the issue of people sleeping on streets and inside metro stations in Paris.
“Everyone agrees on the need to make progress. We must make progress but we are not quite there.”