EcoRéseau Business – The challenges Jean Castex faces at RATP

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Jean Castex has just taken up his position at RATP.

Work to be done. Jean Castex, the new chief executive of RATP, will have to work to get the public company back on its feet in the midst of a downturn.

Jean Castex loves the train. All the better: it will be served. The subway is now his job. From Creil to Montargis, from Gisors to Laon, he will have to organize and formulate an incredibly dense and complex network. 69,000 employees for 8 modes of transport and 12 million journeys per day. Many French people do not know it, but RATP is also a global group that, in addition to managing the master plan for travel in the Ile-de-France region, operates in global cities such as Cairo, Casablanca, Hong Kong, Washington, Riyadh…

A company in bad shape, decidedly wrong. Its last CEO, Catherine Guillouard, resigned with a bang at the end of September. Since then, the company has been managed for better or worse, on a piecemeal basis…

With a new well-identified leader of the population, the employees can hope to find a direction, although Jean Castex did not show real volunteerism during parliamentary hearings.

Give the residents of Ile-de-France a normal offer

First challenge for the figure of territories: redistribute a normal offer on the network, almost three years after the outbreak of the coronavirus. Metros and especially buses show ever-increasing delays… The offer is right now on 2 out of 3 buses! Blame it on sky-high absenteeism and a flurry of resignations among drivers. A social malaise that Jean Castex will have to curb, between a carrot and a stick. Jean Castex spoke of a “question of quality of life in the workplace”. You have to make sure to give meaning to their work and provide for salary increases. The social issue can quickly become explosive with the pension reform looming. The impending strike would be terrible news for users.

John Castex must also pay the electricity bill. The heavily indebted RATP must protect itself against inflation and the explosion of electricity prices. Reduction of light or heating? You will have to decide. Régie accounts for 2% of electricity consumption for the entire Île-de-France region!

The Gordian Knot of the Olympics

There is also the significant challenge of Olympics in Paris 2024… Residents of Ile-de-France, who are often angry, are already saying it to the coffee machine: “When we see the current mess, we say to ourselves: but what will it be like at the Olympics!”. Is the capital region ready to host this major event on its territory? The theme of transport will be fundamental because the Games will both take place in Paris Intramural and in Seine-Saint-Denis.

Preparation of RATP for competition

The “Grand-Paris Express”, the urban district’s new transport architecture, must also be articulated in time. This suburb-to-suburb network, which makes it possible to avoid the current “star-shaped traffic”, where everything passes through the center of Paris, is essential for many Ile-de-France residents who have been waiting for it for years.

The opening for competition is also on everyone’s mind. 1eh January 2025, the Régie’s monopoly on public transport is over. Private actors will come to disturb her in her habits… Paris and its suburbs will be divided into 12 lots to be taken up with the teeth. It will be necessary to convince Île-de-France Mobilités, the transport regulator under the direct control of Valerie Pécresse. The president of Europe’s leading region, who has never hidden his liberal aspirations, is bound to challenger the public enterprise. At the same time, the president of the region is forced to sharply raise the price of the Navigo pass: it will soon rise to 90 euros a month.

Between Pécresse and Hidalgo

Jean Castex will have to rebuild relations with the region, his main contact, but also with the city of Paris. Anne Hidalgo, a little forgotten on these files, would like to be able to have his say. Especially about the buses, now significantly slowed down in the capital (9 km/h commercial speed).

Finally, the new head of the Régie must invent a new way of engaging in dialogue with the state. The High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (HATVP) prohibits the former Prime Minister from directly requesting a large number of members of the current government (Élisabeth Borne, Bruno Le Maire, Clément Beaune, Olivier Dussopt, Gérald Darmanin, etc.) Not easy .

Jean Castex, who was successively “Mr. Déconfinement”, “Mr. Reconfinement”, “Mr. Redéconfinement” then “Mr. Vaccine”; will now have to invent a whole new cap, the one from “Mr. Gone the Galley”…

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