Manuel started his career as an RATP maintenance mechanic. He rose through the ranks over the years and recently became site manager of the Les Lilas bus depot. He loves his job because of the great versatility it requires: “My role is to do everything in my power to ensure that buses operate under optimal safety conditions for our teams and the external service providers working on site.” On a day-to-day basis, Manuel supervises routine building works and repairs, and monitors contracts with external service providers for bus cleaning, fuel supply, site security, fire prevention, etc. He is responsible for welcoming new employees, as well as the various experts who audit the site several times a year.
In addition to this wide range of assignments, he also has to keep an eye on regulatory, environmental and energy issues. Manuel is also preparing for the future of the bus depot as a business unit, involving more autonomous management and a constant performance objective, a change linked to the opening up to competition. “This adds a commercial dimension to the job of site manager”, he explains. “Now I can order directly from our service providers.” But the biggest change at the Les Lilas bus depot concerns the energy conversion of the buses. The switch to fully electric involves a large amount of work on site and is a major challenge for the site manager, all without disrupting daily operations in the bus depot!
Daily contact with multiple players
The address book of a site manager has just as wide a range as the assignments that the job entails. Manuel works every day with in-house experts for building maintenance and site upgrade projects. But he also has to coordinate multiple external service providers such as Engie for heating and ventilation and Eurofeu for fire safety.
Safety and security are top priorities
In close collaboration with the risk prevention coordinator, the site manager works every day to minimize risks at the bus depot. This is an absolute priority, which includes ordering personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff members, as well as having faulty tools replaced, supervising the maintenance of industrial equipment, ensuring fire safety and, more recently, ensuring compliance with barrier measures.
Bus depot conversion
With the Bus2025 program*, Île-de-France Mobilités and RATP have committed to a major technological and ecological change: converting the entire RATP bus fleet to electric and biomethane by 2025. To accommodate the new buses, major works are required in the bus depots. A total of 12 bus depots are being converted to biomethane and 13 bus depots are being adapted and upgraded for fully electric buses. This is the case for the Les Lilas bus depot.
For Manuel, this means coordinating an even wider range of players during the works to demolish the old facilities, to modify the structure to accommodate a new fire safety system, and to install the electric charging stations and all associated cabling. “It’s a colossal project, and my role is also to coordinate the construction work teams and bus operations, while at the same time ensuring the best service level for our passengers”, explains Manuel. “It can sometimes be tricky to get everyone working together in good conditions, and to reorganize the coming and going of buses as site works progress, but it is fascinating!”
* Program partly financed by the European Union.