RATP renovates its stations
In the largest such undertaking since the Paris Metro was first built in 1900, a new chapter in the modernisation and renovation of its interior spaces has been in progress since 1998. This 25-year project, known as the « un métro + beau » programme, is the most ambitious project ever undertaken in the Paris Metro, and involves the modernisation of 266 stations.
- Renovation planning
- A monumental project
- A modern metro
- A carefully considered choice
- Information for passengers and local residents
- Key figures
• Stations remaining open during renovation work
||Under construction||from 04/05/15 to 21/07/17|
||Under construction||from 11/01/16 to 06/03/17|
|Charenton - Écoles
||Under construction||from 02/05/16 to 15/06/17|
|Basilique de St-Denis||Under construction||from12/09/16 to 19/01/18|
|Barbès-Rochechouart||Under construction||from 10/10/16 to 31/12/17|
|Trinité d’Estienne d’Orves||Under construction||from 17/10/16 to 10/09/17|
• Stations entirely or partially closed during renovation work
A monumental project
Thanks to the RATP’s « un métro + beau » programme, the Paris Metro is being equipped with stations that are more modern and comfortable: platforms and corridors are being renovated, concourse areas are being refurbished, and all components from ground to ceiling are being overhauled and reorganised. These actions are accompanied by the installation of a more complete, easier to understand signage (one that is intermodal, tourist-friendly and urban), new seats, and lighting that is better adapted and more efficient.
The « un métro + beau » programme is also the occasion to introduce technological advances (safety and information systems, LED lighting, etc.) in station facilities.
The renovation solutions adopted as part of the « un métro + beau » programme — from the architectural guidelines to the choice of materials and techniques — are all part of an effort to harmonise the Metro’s interior spaces. The choice of floor and wall coverings, tiles and lighting are all based on criteria that integrate economic, environmental and esthetical factors, safety considerations, ease of maintenance, and durability. These solutions provide greater coherence between spaces, restoring the Metro’s original image while incorporating its much-needed modernisation.
Through this programme, RATP fulfils its role as guardian of the Paris Metro’s historical heritage.
RATP’s audacious historical heritage policy harmoniously blends contemporary design (via the look of new facilities) with vintage structures inherited from the past. The « un métro + beau » programme illustrates the group’s commitment to guaranteeing the future of an exceptional historical heritage while adapting it to new uses and ever increasing traffic.
A modern metro
• A newer Metro
A key component of the Paris Metro’s international image, white tiles are back in style in all of the renovated stations, with their bevelled shape redesigned to easily reflect and diffuse artificial light. The new tiles are easier to maintain and especially resilient, and are designed to last as long as the original ones, which were manufactured at the prestigious Gien earthenware plant.
Each station renovation project is the subject of a specific study, and tiles are ordered according to need. Since it takes 88 tiles to cover one square meter, nearly 23 million tiles will be required to cover the 272,000m² of the 266 stations in the programme still awaiting renovation.
Friezes, some with decorative motifs, Lille-style baseboards, archivolt mouldings... to perpetuate the memory of the Metro, the tilemakers copied the original tiles and redrew their shapes and patterns.
In this way, the new tiles, installed in precisely the same pattern as before, manage to recreate the original enamel’s artisanal relief and transparency. The colours have also been carefully researched, so that they may loyally evoke the colours of times gone by.
One key point in the modernisation programme is to offer passengers better quality service. Renovated stations are neater, cleaner and more accommodating, thanks to the use of new furnishings. In keeping with its past traditions, RATP called on designers and architects to conceive the Metro’s architectural spaces and furnishings.
The renovation project’s most visible symbol is the new Metro seat, which was selected for its comfort and unique form.
Presented in rows of 3 to 5 seats, and available in seven colours, its simple, familiar shape reflects the platform lighting.
Lastly, RATP also conducted operations that are not always visible but just as essential, including: the replacement and masking of all cabling necessary for Metro operations and safety, the renovation of various premises, masonry work, the installation of new ticket gates, etc.
• A simpler Metro
The Metro’s new multimodal signalling system is designed to help all passengers find their way more easily — not only when taking the Metro, but when looking for a bus, a tramway, or the right exit to use. Building on RATP’s recognised tradition of quality signage, it takes into account readability and ease of use by all types of passengers.
More present than ever, the signage alerts, orients and reassures passengers. It is more informative, with twice as many neighbourhood maps. It is more precise, designating exits by both name and number, which are easy to memorize. More open to the city, and with tourists in mind, it uses five different languages and guides passengers easily to the main points of interest, whether touristic or cultural. The “Parisine” typeface, specially designed for RATP by typographer Jean-François Porchez in 1996, enables users to “see rather than read” and to “photograph rather than decipher.” A dynamic, real-time display system and audio announcements round out the system. Colours, font size, contrast, kerning… everything is done to enable passengers to rapidly read or recognise the indications along their route.
Enamelled signs, which date back to the beginnings of the Metro, symbolise a tradition of excellence that has its place in the renovation project. Durable, impermeable to chemical products, there are thousands of these wall-mounted or suspended signs throughout the network (583 signs in the Opera station alone!). Since every station is unique, each sign is tailor-made, depending on its location within the station and its precise position.
Metro modernisation also calls for a more effective sales service and a greater availability of staff to help and inform passengers. Former sales offices have been replaced by numerous ticket vending machines and Navigo Pass recharging terminals. Staff at ticket counters and information desks are equipped with systems to help them better inform passengers.
• A brighter Metro
RATP has made metro lighting a priority, because light is a key component of comfort and safety in underground spaces. The necessary luminance, which in principle recalls natural lighting, was obtained by coordinating different types of lighting with the reflective capacities of various surfaces.
A veritable calling card for the Metro’s interior spaces, this distinctive lighting reveals their architectural wealth, creates a transition from the exterior to the interior, and helps guide passengers. From the streets to the platforms, there are no less than 17 different models of lamps to gently mark the passenger’s transition through space and reinforce the feeling of security.
|Holophane. Derived from the Greek words holos (whole) and phanein (to appear), a Holophane “appears wholly” luminous. Conceived by the French physicist Augustin Fresnel, its special shape was designed to diffuse light widely. It quickly became an international success. The Holophane lamp has been used to light Metro station entrances since 1930. Its inside reflector was completely redesigned in 2000 by lighting specialist Benoit Lalloz, to accommodate low voltage power sources and to better direct the luminous flux.|
|52.4 kilometres of light strips. Nearly two times the length of the Paris ring road, and specially designed for RATP by Bruno Gaudin and Georges Berne, these light strips are modular and can be used to create light paths. They also serve to hide the cabling used for numerous related applications, such as sound systems, radio networks, telephone repeaters and vital security backups.|
A carefully considered choice
Before the decision is taken to close a station for renovation work, numerous factors are taken into account — including the size of the station, its geographic location (in Paris or the suburbs), the number of connecting lines, and the safety of working conditions.
With few exceptions, renovation work on suburban stations is conducted solely at night during closing hours, between 1:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., although a station’s closing time might in some instances be advanced to 10 p.m. For stations in Paris, the decision depends on whether or not there are any connecting lines. If a station has no connecting lines, RATP will close it completely (in Paris, the distance between metro stations is never greater than 500 metres).
If the station has one or more connecting lines, RATP closes the station platforms one by one, with at least one metro line maintaining service to the station.
A station undergoing renovation will not be closed for more than twelve weeks (twelve weeks of work in a closed station is equivalent to six months of work if the same station were to remain open). A replacement bus service is provided when necessary.
Despite construction work, metro traffic continues without interruption and all lines operate normally.
Information for passengers and local residents
RATP has increased the number of information channels directed towards key players (passengers, local residents, officials and STIF) who are affected by the « un métro + beau » Programme.
More than a year before renovation begins, RATP teams meet with local officials and residents to reflect on the best way to limit as much as possible any inconveniences arising from construction work.
RATP staff are specially designated to meet personally with those local retailers and establishments (hospitals, schools, museums, movie theatres, etc.) on whom the renovation has a direct impact. Local residents living less than 300 metres from the construction site are notified by mail.
A month before construction begins, signs and signalling are posted along the line in its entirety, on platforms and in trains. During construction work, RATP staff inform passengers in stations that neighbour the closed station in both directions, and audio announcements are broadcast in the trains and in the connecting stations.
|€450m||Budget for the renovation programme, in current euros, entirely financed by RATP. This is equivalent to nearly €500m in 2010 euros|
|25 years||Begun in 1998, the « un métro + beau » programme is scheduled to last twenty-five years|
|249 stations||As of 1 March 2016, 249 out of 266 stations had been renovated|
||Number of white tiles necessary to cover 1 square metre|
|23 million||Number of bevelled white tiles needed to cover the 272,000 m² of surface area in the halls, corridors and public access areas of the 266 stations in the « un métro + beau » programme|
||According to a 2008 survey, 95% of passengers were either satisfied or very satisfied with the renovated stations|
|20 cm||Amount by which stair ramps were raised, taking into account the average height of passengers in the 21st century|
|52.4 km||Total length of light strips installed in the 266 stations|
|17||Number of new lamp models designed by RATP teams and put into service|
||Average number of new seats available in each renovated station|
|55 months||Time needed to renovate the Republique station (2 years of research, bids to tender and contracting, plus 18 months of construction)|