Faced with significant difficulties before the Olympic Games (OG), the Autonomous Transport Authority (RATP) is launching a major recruitment plan. RATP plans to recruit 5,300 people in 2024, announced its CEO, Jean Castex, on Tuesday January 23, emphasizing two objectives: the success of the Olympics and the recovery of the quality of service in Parisian transport.

In 2023, RATP presented an even more ambitious recruitment program of 6,600 people. “Before the Covid period, we were more likely to have annual averages of 3,500 or 4,000,” recalled Mr. Castex, visiting the station agent training center. “We will continue this effort in 2024, obviously in smaller proportions,” underlined the CEO for whom one of the priorities will be “to continue recruiting on the metro”.

RATP plans to recruit 320 metro drivers as well as 1,350 bus drivers. The other two most sought-after professions are maintenance operators, with the ambition to attract 350 recruits, and station agents, who will be crucial in the Olympic hosting system. For the latter, RATP is targeting 900 recruitments, including 600 by the Olympics, a record. “We had, it’s true, made a lot of savings on these items and we realize that we have undoubtedly gone a little too far,” admitted the former prime minister.

This ambitious recruitment plan takes “the training system to its maximum”, assured the CEO. “We couldn’t recruit more,” he added, specifying that metro driver training also took place at night.

Improve quality of service

Since the appointment of the former Prime Minister in November 2022, with the roadmap of redressing the crisis in Parisian transport, the situation has improved but without completely returning to the expected level of service, according to monthly statistics published by Ile-de-France Mobilités (IDFM).

In 2023, RATP achieved its recruitment objectives, allowing the service to improve significantly in the bus and metro after enormous difficulties at the end of 2022, without reaching satisfactory levels, according to Valérie Pécresse. The president of the IDFM transport authority asked the RATP to restore a service equivalent to pre-Covid for March, while five metro lines are below 85% regularity during peak hours.

But the objective seems difficult to achieve, by Mr. Castex’s own admission. First, due to the increase in abandoned baggage, which causes numerous traffic interruptions throughout the network. Then, “we have lines which have more obsolete, older equipment, on which, as luck would have it, we find lower performances”, he underlined.

He welcomed the purchases of new equipment decided by IDFM, but this decision was taken “twenty years late. And the only thing I don’t know how to do is go back in time,” said the former prime minister.