An extended bus network in the Rennes metropolitan area as an “alternative solution to the car”

From this Monday, the bus network in the metropolitan area of ​​Rennes is under development
. New circuits will be established, lines will open and others will have extended timetables. To talk about it, Matthieu Theurier, vice-president of Rennes Métropole for Mobility and Transport was a guest of France Bleu Armorique at 8:20 last Friday.

France Bleu Armorique: One month after the commissioning of line B of the Rennes metro, why did we have to relocate the bus network?

Matthieu Theurier: This is something we had planned. The metro’s line B is a very structuring and very important means of public transport, which today changes the daily life of metropolitan residents. But it must be admitted that it is a line which remains contained within the ring road. It’s a very powerful tool, but it’s very expensive, so we can’t extend it very far. We wanted the metro’s arrival to be useful for all the 43 municipalities and their inhabitants the size of Rennes Métropole. So we had planned to restructure the bus network at the same time as we opened the metro. Line B in the metro allows us to eliminate bus lines in the heart of the metropolis, on the inner ring road we therefore redistribute these kilometers to the benefit of the municipalities in the first and second rings of the metropolis.

Will all municipalities benefit from it?

Yes, there is an increased supply for all metropolitan municipalities. Afterwards, there are big winners in this increase in supply, the ten municipalities with more than 6,000 inhabitants, who will see a fairly significant development in their supply. For example, Betton, Bruz, Thorigné, Vern-sur-Seiche, which will have buses at a speed of 8 to 10 minutes in the morning during rush hour. So we are getting closer to the supply levels that we know on existing routes. Before we were more in the neighborhood, see 20 minutes. So we still have an increase in supply, which is significant, with time amplitudes which are also greater, with buses that will leave République until 21:45 in the evening to serve these municipalities. There are also more buses on Saturday and Sunday. We also have a new night line, a new Chronostar line, from 5:15 to 12:45 with buses every eight minutes on average. This new Chronostar 7 will serve Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande and Bruz, so for its inhabitants it is real changes in terms of mobility.

On the other hand, in Rennes intra muros, will there be fewer buses?

There are fewer buses because the metro offers a very efficient public transport service that replaces certain bus lines. Line B has roughly the same route as bus line 9, which disappears. By removing this line, we recover kilometers of bus, which we are able to redeploy to the benefit of the municipalities in the first and second krone. Our philosophy today is that 70% of Rennes residents are less than a ten-minute walk from a metro station with the opening of line B, now the effort in terms of public transport will focus on the municipalities in the first and second arrondissements.

With this redistribution, there is a million kilometers of extra network. It could have saved so much..

Absolutely, but it is clearly a political choice to bring public transport solutions and alternatives to the car, for climate issues that we all know. We know that the car contributes to this climate change, that 40% of greenhouse gas emissions are linked to mobility in metropolitan France. So it is urgent to offer these alternatives. And then there is a social emergency. The car is expensive. The price of fuel is rising and I don’t think it will drop much in the coming years because it is a resource that is becoming scarce, so public transport, especially for inner suburbs residents who come to work in Rennes , c. is a real alternative to the private car.

The next step is the tram bus lines. Where are you with this project?

We are in the process of completing the feasibility studies that will give us the opportunity to see what can be done, in collaboration with mayors and elected officials in the municipalities affected by the tram bus. They enabled us to decide on line and route projects with preliminary budgets and preliminary schedules. These elements will be presented to the Rennes Métropole Council on November 17. From the 21st of November we will hold a public meeting in the municipalities affected by the trambus to start informing the residents about what we envision, knowing that there are a number of things that have not yet been defined, there are still variants of layouts, which we want to discuss with the residents.

The restructuring of this bus network worries the CGT, which already condemns deteriorating working conditions. The trade union issues a strike notice, work stoppages are planned on Monday from 7.00 to 8.00. Do you have something to say to employees to reassure them?

As deputy chairman of Rennes Métropole, my job is to provide a public transport service to users. I believe that October 24 is an important date that is expected by the inhabitants, once again of the first and second crown. So I would have preferred to avoid a social movement, but we have to remember that when we come to respond to user demand, it is inevitably also longer days for the drivers and more weekends. In addition, we are finding it difficult to recruit today, so we have set up training. But it is certain that the working conditions will not improve much for them with the reorganization of the bus network, we have to work on that and the solution for us is clearly to employ people.

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