630km-traffic jams & storming buses: Transport workers’ strike propels Paris into logistics hell (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
The gloomy Monday morning kicked off with traffic jams spanning more than 630km down major highways in the busy Ile-de-France region, which encompasses Paris and its suburbs.
Torrential rain exacerbated the transport collapse, sparked by the strikes carried out by workers at state-run railway company, the SNCF, and the RATP Group, which provides bus and tram service, along with operating the Paris Metro.
The workers began striking on Thursday, in protest against the controversial pension reform. The media, meanwhile, reported about “endless” queues at train stations and people desperately “storming” the few buses which were not cancelled due to the strike.
Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, des centaines de personnes attend vainement un bus. Au moins 20 minutes qu'aucun bus n'est passé. pic.twitter.com/M4SpD3bIHD— Sébastian Compagnon (@SebCompagnon) December 9, 2019
Massive crowds flooded the Metro, with commuters trying to forcefully squeeze themselves into jam-packed trains. The chaotic atmosphere prompted tensions and arguments between the people trying to get to work.
“There is no way to get on the subway train. You can see people pushing each other around,” one commuter told BFM TV.
Im not sure id recommend gettin the Metro in Paris today but many workers just have no choice but to try and wait and squeeze on. RATP Metro driver who isnt on strike tells me many of her colleagues are prepared for three weeks of strikes..#RATP#greve10decembrepic.twitter.com/5eVbAfZHp9— Ben McPartland (@McPBen) December 9, 2019
Scènes de panique à #GareduNord où les agents de sûreté de la SNCF doivent user de toutes leurs forces pour repousser les voyageurs qui tentent de monter dans les trains. #grevedu9decembrepic.twitter.com/uKerfkUAWn— Pierre Tremblay (@tremblay_p) December 9, 2019
⚠ Fortes perturbations dans le métro ce lundiLe quai de la ligne 4 est déjà bondé à Gare du NordCertains usagers ont attendu plus d'une demi-heure pour pouvoir entrer dans la rame du métro ⤵ pic.twitter.com/KFzqfUkLug— BFM Paris (@BFMParis) December 9, 2019
The anti-government protesters have also added fuel to the fire by erecting barricades and blocking the access to several bus terminals. They were later dispersed by riot police.
Intervention des forces de l’ordre au dépôt de bus de Paris Est. Déblocage du dépôt en cours. pic.twitter.com/62uUIyVqgZ— Remy Buisine (@RemyBuisine) December 9, 2019
Ten of the city’s 16 Metro lines are not working, while another four only offering limited services. Likewise, only 15 percent of trains across the country are running normally, and travel by bus remains constrained as well. This forced commuters to switch to bicycles, scooters and carpooling.
Aside from transport disruption, the strikes took a toll on Christmas shopping. Secretary of State for Economy and Finance Agnes Pannier-Runacher said that trade has seen “an overall decrease in turnover.”Also on rt.com French demonstrators & police CLASH as protests turn to riots (VIDEOS)
Secretary of State for Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, meanwhile, promised talks with the trade unions this month. At the same time, he defended the pension reform, saying it has fallen victim to “disinformation and manipulation.”
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