The National Assembly voted on Wednesday evening, November 22, at first reading, a bill on the opening to competition of the RATP bus network, spreading the process over two years in order to preserve social guarantees for employees, despite opposition from the left.

The Minister of Transport Clément Beaune welcomed in the hemicycle “a text of adaptation and improvement” with “the necessary balance” which amounts to allowing the Île-de-France region “to choose one or more service providers” for the organization of transport “as the vast majority of French metropolises do”.

The senatorial bill initiated by centrist Vincent Capo-Canellas, supported by the government, establishes the legal framework for this competition, already launched by the organizing authority Île-de-France Mobilités.

Deputies and senators must now meet in a joint committee to try to establish a final version of the text.

Adopted at the end of October by the upper house, it came up against opposition from the left in the Assembly, the majority of which denounced, among other things, “a race towards privatization” of the Island’s public transport network. -de-France, according to MP Fatiha Keloua-Hachi (Socialists and Allies).

An accelerated procedure by the government

The bill intends in particular to secure the terms of transfer of RATP employees to their new employer while maintaining their social guarantees. Some 19,000 workers are affected, on 308 bus lines.

The text also makes it possible to stagger the timetable for opening the RATP bus networks to competition in Paris and the inner suburbs until the end of 2026, whereas a deadline was initially set at the end of 2024.

A decision strongly criticized by the left, who wanted a longer spread, at least until 2028, seeing in this new calendar a way “to bypass the Olympic Games to avoid a major social movement during the period”, according to Ms. Keloua-Hachi.

While this opening to competition raised fears of social movements, the president of the Île-de-France region and Île-de-France Mobilités Valérie Pécresse had already said she was in favor of this modification in July.

The government, for its part, had activated the accelerated procedure for examining the text, allowing a single reading in each chamber and rapid adoption.