Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Transportation in Paris: Bus/Metro/RER

Paris has an extremely efficient public transport system with 14 metro lines and numerous buses. RATP is the only company to run metros, buses and RER except for the C RER line, ran by SNCF as suburban service.
Three different maps are available for free at metro ticket windows : Le Grand Plan de Paris with the complete network and the streets, Le Petit Plan de Paris more practical and Paris Plan de Poche small map easy to have in the pocket.


Metro runs between 6:00 am and 1:00 am.
After the 23rd of December 2006, it will stay open until 2:15am on Saturdays. And on Friday too during 2007.
 It's quite simple to use. Each line has a number from 1 to 14 and two directions. The direction is the terminus of the line. On one platform all the trains go in the same direction except for lines 7 and 13, but the terminus of the next train is clearly indicated. Orange "correspondance" signs (connecting trains) show the way to reach other lines platforms. On every platforms, maps with metro, buses or RER lines can be found. And in almost all stations, on platforms or near exits, you can find maps of the neighborhood.

 Remember that most of metro stations are close to each other and connecting corridors can be very long and stairs can be endless. So it's often quicker to walk if the journey is less than three stations long.


As easy is the metro to use, as the buses network is complicated : even a map is impossible to display on Internet. The site of RATP have one, but it is very simplified and not very useful to plan a journey. The only reliable maps can be found on bus stops where you can follow lines numbers and colors. Most lines operate from 6:30 am to 8:30 pm on weekdays, some lines stopping around midnight. About half lines don't operate on Sundays and public holidays.
 To enter in a bus (by front door) you have to wave at the driver. The fare is one ticket whatever long is the journey within Paris proper. The ticket is the same than the metro and can be found by 10 in metro stations or by 1 by the driver. There is no connecting possible with a ticket used in a bus. A map inside buses and bus stops shows every stop of the line. "Arrêt demandé" ( stop signal) is lit by pressing a red button for the next stop.
 Two others services can be interesting :
    •    Balabus, Witch is a touristic bus, running from mid-April to mid-September, on Sundays and public holidays, from noon to 9pm. For the fare of a simple ticket, it transports tourists from La Défense to Gare de Lyon running through principal touristic places.
    •    Noctiliens, night bus service, has just been greatly improved. There can be now bus every ten minutes all night long during week end nights. A special fare occures. This buses can be overcrowded but are practical when metros are closed.

RER "Reseau Express Régional" (Suburban Express Service) can be used within city limits with the same ticket. For long distance journeys, it can be a quicker alternative to metro. For suburban destination, special tickets are required.
 Remember that, unlike metro, RER ask for your ticket to go OUT. So if you go from metro to RER, you will have to validate the ticket to enter the metro, then to validate it again to enter the RER and at last to validate it again to go out of the RER ! So Keep your ticket until you leave the network. There is no way to pay an extra before leaving RER if you have no ticket or a wrong ticket (with an exception at Disneyland Resort Paris)!
 RER lines are known by a letter and a name which indicate the train destination. Posters displayed on the platform show which train go where, for unlike metro, different directions can stop at the same platform. In most stations, electronic destination boards indicate the stops of the next train.
 The system is no simple nor clear, even for Parisians. Don't hesitate to ask for assistance.

 Tickets are sold by one( 1.4 €) or by 10 ( 10.5 €). They can be used for "section urbaine" (within city limits) that means all metro stops and some close suburban bus stops. To reach suburban zones in RER, special tickets are required. You can find ticket carnet in metro stations or in some tobacconists. Bus drivers only sell ticket by one. The ticket is good for a two hours travel with all the connecting you want except in buses.
 Travel passes can be used for unlimited travel in metro, buses, RER, and even suburban trains if you want. But it is not always the cheapest solution. If you don't travel a lot in the transport network, ticket carnets can be cheaper !


Carte Orange is the most popular pass. Made for Parisian, it can be really convenient for tourists. It allows unlimited travels in all Ile de France transportation network, in a predefined number of zones. The card with an id photo have a number which must be copied on the monthly or weekly coupon. There are two sorts of coupons :
    •     the Weekly coupon, valid from Monday to Sunday. It can be bought from Friday (for the next week) to Wednesday. 15.4 € for zones 1 & 2 (inside Paris).
    •    the Monthly coupon, valid fro the entire calendar month. It can be bought after the 20th of the previous month and until the 19th. 50.4 €

 This card is valid on all Inside Paris transportation network for one day. No photo required. 5.3 €

 "Paris Visite" is a unique pass to discover Paris and around. It allows :
    •    unlimited travels in all transportation network : metro, RER, bus, tram, Montmartre funiculary, Montmartrobus, Noctambus (night buses)in the zones you choose (1-3 to 1-8). With zones 1 to 8, it goes to Disneyland Paris, Versailles or airports..
    •    travels during 1, 2, 3, or 5 days .
    •    50% reduction for 4 to 11 year old kids.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home