Over four successive summers, between 2015 and 2018, the complete replacement of the tracks and ballast on the central trunk of the RER A requires traffic to be entirely halted on this segment over a four week period. Beyond the technical challenges represented by this project, the temporary closure each summer requires that we reinvent our transport offer and support and information services for passengers of the Île-de-France network.
To help them anticipate each summer’s closure, our passengers are informed well in advance via massive information campaigns conducted several months before the line closure: email campaigns, awareness events in stations, and billboard notices in our spaces.
In July-August 2016, the full interruption of service between La Défense and Nation affected 570,000 to 700,000 passengers daily. The system set up for the occasion – which outstripped the closure during the first phase of construction in 2015 – demonstrated the plan’s effectiveness and has served as a solid basis for anticipating the closures scheduled for 2017 and 2018.
We were able to adapt our transport offer in real-time on metro line 1, the natural alternative itinerary to the RER A, thanks to the line’s flexibility, which has been fully automated since 2012. Moreover, service was also stepped up on seven other metro lines (2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 13 and 14) to provide passengers with other alternatives. We also increased service on four bus lines and the two tramways, T2 and T3a. We made these adjustments based on RATP’s GLOBAL passenger traffic predictive tool, as well as on our cumulative understanding and experience of traffic, and the feedback we received in 2015.
At the same time, we set up a major system for greeting and guiding passengers, relying on the strong presence of our station staff to reassure and advise both tourists and our regular passengers. Metro and RER station agents were deployed to greet and guide passengers towards alternative itineraries, and to channel passenger flows to guarantee the regularity of transport services. Altogether, more than 1000 agents were mobilised during peak hours.