RATP’s latest improvements

Posted: 27 September 2006 | Patrick Vautier, Head of Marketing, RATP | No comments yet

RATP is the main public transport operator in the Ile de France region around Paris. RATP’s mission is to continually provide the 11 million inhabitants of the region with an ever improving service. In order to do this RATP has developed a policy of innovation, which it hopes will result in greater customer satisfaction.

RATP is the main public transport operator in the Ile de France region around Paris. RATP’s mission is to continually provide the 11 million inhabitants of the region with an ever improving service. In order to do this RATP has developed a policy of innovation, which it hopes will result in greater customer satisfaction.

RATP is the main public transport operator in the Ile de France region around Paris. RATP’s mission is to continually provide the 11 million inhabitants of the region with an ever improving service. In order to do this RATP has developed a policy of innovation, which it hopes will result in greater customer satisfaction.

Innovation has been a key focus for RATP for a long time and this has allowed the company to remain at the cutting edge of public transport. RATP sees innovation as being a way to better serve its transport authority (STIF), fulfil political projects and satisfy customers. It is also the key to being a sustainable company.

The size of RATP’s mission

On average RATP carries 9,713,000 travellers a day! This represents more than 2.8 billion journeys a year and generates €3.3bn in revenue. Up to 77% of the population of Paris use RATP’s services and half of all travellers are regular users of its services.

In order to serve this number of people RATP has more than 44,000 employees and it operates a multi-modal network integrating four different types of public transportation: the subway (16 lines); the RER regional express trains (2 lines); buses (332 lines); and trams (2 lines).

Within Ile de France, the market share of public transport as a percentage of all ‘motorised’ movement is stable at 30%.

A major player in regional transportation policy

Routes operated by RATP are the most important part of the vast regional transportation network, accounting for 79% of all traffic within the large (12,000km2) Ile de France region, which has 11 million inhabitants.

STIF (Syndicat des transports d’Île-de-France) is the authority that controls the Paris public transport network and co-ordinates the different transport companies operating in Île-de-France. RATP acts within the framework of a three-year contract established with STIF.

A political initiative designed to decrease car use and increase the use of public transport with the aim of improving the quality of life has been active in the region. The ‘Plan for Urban Movement’ (PDU) predicts a decrease in car usage despite an increase in the total volume of movement. This will be achieved through the development of public transport without having to implement coercive measures such as ‘urban tolling’.

It is against this backdrop that RATP is working and investing. Indeed, the total amount of investments RATP made in 2005 came to over €816 million.

Innovation improves service

Innovation within RATP has produced durable solutions that the company believes improves the service it offers to both its transport authority and to passengers. RATP is constantly looking to improve the quality of service it offers and it hopes that in doing so it is making the decision for the general public to use public transport and RATP’s services in particular a natural one.

However, as people increasingly use public transport as part of their daily routine, they also become used to improvements that are introduced and can start to overlook them. In order to counter this, RATP needs to constantly counter this trend. RATP’s ‘innovation policy’ designed to do this revolves around three major elements:

  • the extension of the network
  • technological innovation
  • the innovation of service.

The extension of the network

With the agreement of STIF, RATP is continuing to strengthen its services through opening new destinations and by reorganising existing services.

In 2005 the night bus network was re-launched with the NOCTILIEN service, which runs between 0:30am and 5:30am. NOCTILIEN represented a trebling of the service offered and a new circular route connects all the main railway stations.

In December 2006 the new tram route T3 will be launched. The route will cover 9km in the south of Paris, running along the route of the PC1 bus line. The tram will be an Alstom-CITADIS model. It will be 45 metres in length and will carry an estimated 100,000 travellers a day. This will be double the number of passengers who currently travel along the route.

The MOBILIEN bus network is also being introduced in the Île-de-France region. It aims to meets the needs of commuters, whose flexible working times have spread out the morning and evening rush hours, as well as cater for the growing number of leisure trips. The MOBILIEN service will offer a faster, more frequent service and feature dedicated bus lanes.

Extensions to the metro lines 13 (Gennevilliers– le Luth), 4 (to Montrouge) and 12 (towards Aubervilliers) are also being planned or have actually started being built. 2007 will also see the extension of automatic subway (line 14) to the station ‘Olympiades’. This will revive a whole new part of the XIIIth district of Paris.

So, to surmise, the next few years will see the construction of over 70km of new tram-ways, several extensions to our subway lines and great improvements of our bus services.

2006 has also seen the arrival of new generation MF 2000 metro trains, the renovation of the RER MF61, as well as the renovation of the MF77 and MF67 subways.

We have also benefited from the arrival of new IRISBUS and SCANIA buses, which meet the new level IV and V Euro-standards.

It is also necessary to note the development of local lines using the Microbus, the revolutionary 22 seat vehicle, built by the Gruau Company in partnership with RATP. One of the key points of the Microbus is the variety of its motorisations (electric, diesel, hybrid).

Technological innovation

The successes of Line 14 widely demonstrated the advantages of automation. Platform screen doors have improved both the productivity and quality of the subway. The challenge was to introduce these developments without upsetting the running of the system.

Three new big projects that are planned include:

  • The automation of Line 1. This is the most important project in terms of passenger ‘traffic’ as the line carries more than 500,000 travellers during the day. The program has been started and should be finished in 2010.
  • The implementation of platform screen doors to prevent trespassing and accidents. Indeed, trespassing on the track is often the main cause of disturbance and delay. Trials with platform screen doors are taking place at Invalides and Saint Lazare (on Line 13), which is the more crowded station.
  • The ‘Ouragan’ program is a new operating system for the subway. The program will help modernise the central control centre as well as the automatic driving and track signalling systems. Ouragan will bring greater safety and security as it can control the speed of the rolling stock, resulting in an increase frequency – reducing the intervals between trains down to as little as every 90 seconds, thanks to in-cabin signalling.

With regards to ticketing, RATP has been actively involved with implementing the NAVIGO smart card. A total of 1.5 million travellers have been equipped with their annual transport passes (Integrale / Imagine’ R). Last May, STIF approved the use of the NAVIGO for monthly and weekly passes, and that has been a further two million people RATP has had to equip.

Since the middle of 2006, RATP’s customers have been able to acquire their Integrale season passes via the internet and order their Navigo pass.

After technical tests that were conducted in the 1st half of 2006, RATP is now going to trial the validation and purchase of tickets via a mobile phone.

Safety is another major issue. RATP has installed 17,000 camera on the bus network and it will finish installing 6,000 digital cameras on the rail network.

Service innovation

RATP also realises that good passenger information is an important element in satisfying its passengers. So, RATP has equipped the RER, 72 bus lines and six subway lines with its SIEL real time passenger information (RTPI) system. RATP plans to extend the system to all of its bus stops, the tram system and subway.

On-board vehicles, RATP has also developed visual and audio passenger information announcements. Between 2005–2006 more than 2,200 buses were equipped.

On Line 38 RATP is trialing the Dilidam project – which involves the broadcasting of local real time information onto plasma screens. If the trials are successful, RATP will look to work with media agencies and TV broadcasters.

Internet developments

RATP’s website is also significant because it has become an ‘information platform’ for the company – providing information to customers about how the system is moving over the whole region. RATP plan for the website to become more and more interactive.

RATP is also developing wireless internet services. Real time passenger information about, as well as other content, will be available from the end of 2006. 65 ‘Urbam’ internet kiosks were installed. They also provide email, IrDa connections and a printer services.

Investment in service

RATP also plans to invest €100 million and more than 100,000 hours of training to improve customer service. It aims to offer reliable, easy and courteous service to its customers. It hopes to achieve this in particular by concentration on it’s sales services – thus enriching the relationships between RATP’s staff and its customers.

There are five main areas in which this will take effect:

  • By using commercial agencies to deal with its customers holding personalised season passes
  • The extensive use of Automatic Vending Machines (AVMs) in all stations. These will be intended for more ‘casual’ customers who do not want a subscription service
  • The sale of tickets aboard buses
  • Developing a network of more than 1,500 retailers selling tickets on-behalf of RATP
  • E-shopping which allows customers to buy a ticket at anytime. The first phase of this involves selling tickets via the internet and through cash dispensers. RATP will also test the purchase of tickets via mobile phone.

Using these methods will allow RATP to ‘free-up’ 6,000 members of staff, who will now be free to welcome, inform and assist customers in stations. RATP wants to offer a personalised service and to develop a reputation for being good at listening and effective in helping. To help with this, staff will have access to various databases through the company’s intranet portal called OCARINA.

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