- Title: Transport strike hassles becoming unbearable, commuters say
- Date: 17th December 2019
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (DECEMBER 17, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF COMMUTERS WALKING DOWN STAIRS AT GARE DU NORD TRAIN STATION CROWD OF COMMUTERS WAITING AS TRAIN ARRIVES VARIOUS OF PASSENGERS EXITING TRAIN, CROWD WAITING TO GET IN CROWD INSIDE TRAIN (SOUNDBITE) (French) COMMUTER, ROMAIN LE CORDROCH, SAYING: "I've been having trouble for a week now. I live in Paris, but even just to get to a destination one kilometre away, it takes hours and hours. It's very complicated. I feel like the railway workers are only thinking of themselves, if I may say so." RER SUBURBAN TRAIN LEAVING STATION CROWD INSIDE TRAIN COMMUTER, THOMAS PEROZ, SITTING INSIDE TRAIN (SOUNDBITE) (French) COMMUTER, THOMAS PERROZ, SAYING: "As you can see, the trains are not that crammed inside. It's becoming more organised, they made a lot of progress in that regard compared to strikes in previous years. But then, we only have trains in the morning and in the evening. It's often more complicated in the evening, but it turns out fine." PASSENGERS EXITING TRAIN COMMUTERS WALKING AT MONTPARNASSE TRAIN STATION SCREEN READING (French): "NO PASSENGERS IN THIS TRAIN" PASSENGERS WALKING WITH LUGGAGE (SOUNDBITE) (English) AMERICAN TOURIST, NICK WARD, SAYING: "I flew in this morning, and I was trying to get to Vannes as soon as possible, but the earliest train is not until 3:30 (p.m.), so I gotta spend all day at the train station. I'd prefer to leave a bit earlier if I could." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE IN STATION COMMUTERS WITH SUITCASES (SOUNDBITE) (French) PASSENGER, NATHAN TRETEN, SAYING: "It's cumbersome. I've been in Paris for a few days, three days, and I've had enough. I'm getting more annoyed. I'm not very aware of the context of the strike, but I think it's a bit too much especially during the holidays. All things considered, it's a bit too much, especially in Paris." WOMAN WALKING AT STATION
- Embargoed: 31st December 2019 10:20
- Keywords: Christmas break France strike Paris commuters pension reform protest transport strike unions
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Lawmaking,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAD6VYF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Commuters packed into crowded metro stations and crammed trains on Tuesday (December 17) as a nationwide strike against the government's pension reform reached its thirteenth day.
With a nationwide movement of rolling strikes and protests beginning to tail off in its second week, unions are hoping to regain momentum by bringing hundreds of thousands of demonstrators back out onto the street on Tuesday.
Former investment banker Macron has said he wants to streamline the Byzantine state pension system with its tangle of special privileges, and use incentives to encourage people to work until 64, instead of the current average retirement age of 62.
Eight of Paris' 14 metro lines are closed and the rest have a limited service, apart from two lines that run automated trains, with suburban commuter trains also heavily disrupted. Roads were thick on Tuesday morning with pedestrians, bicycles and electric scooters as people tried to get to work.
The state railway operator, SNCF, urged travellers not to show up at stations hoping to travel, with 80 percent of trains out of action in the region around Paris. At some stations in the past two weeks, police and security guards had to stop commuters trying to fight their way onto overcrowded trains.
Morning traffic queues in the Paris area totalled 300 km, though congestion subsided to normal by the end of the morning rush, with many workers having set off early or stayed home.
The unions and Macron are each hoping to push the other to back down before Christmas, with the prospect that continuing strikes over the holiday would alienate an increasingly frustrated public.
(Production: Martin Esposito, Manuel Ausloos, Ardee Napolitano)
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