Red faces as Paris buys too-big metro escalators

France24: The finger pointing has begun already in Paris, with all sides bickering over who will foot the substantial bill which runs into millions of euros.
The infamous escalators, installed less than ten years ago, feature stairs ten centimetres wider than those normally used on the city’s metro system. The state-owned Paris public transport operator RATP had incorrectly thought that this would help boost capacity.
But it now transpires that the stairs are simply too wide to fit properly into the pre-existing spaces allotted to them, causing regular malfunctions.
This is a problem that has not only become a daily gripe for Paris’s already fractious commuters, but has also forced RATP to spend tens of thousands of euros on repairs.
“We had to put in place additional monitoring (of the new escalators) every four months that generally led to maintenance operations being carried out,” David Courteille, responsible for electromechanical engineering at RATP, told French daily Le Figaro. Such operations are normally carried out every six months on the rest of the operator’s escalators, he said.
These constant repair jobs cost RATP tens of thousands of euros each year for each escalator. In comparison, the operator normally spends 100,000 every ten years on renovations for each of its normal-sized escalators.
Now, the operator has decided to cut its losses and will begin replacing the faulty escalators, located on metro lines 14, 6 and 13, between now and 2015 – a measure set to cost at least six million euros, RATP’s maintenance chief Olivier Saiz told the newspaper..
“We have estimated between 200,000 and 500,000 euros for the price of each new escalator,” he said.
RATP though is hoping not to have to foot the bill. It is seeking compensation from Constructions industrielles de la Méditerranée – the French company from whom it ordered the malfunctioning escalators back in 2006 and 2007 – which it accuses of having made “design flaws”.
The story comes hot on the heels of another transport faux pas in France. The national rail company SNCF said in May that it had ordered 2,000 trains for an expanded regional network that were too wide for many station platforms, entailing costly repairs.
Those choosing to travel to France, remember, you’re paying for their transport network mistakes.

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Auntie Lulu
Auntie Lulu
5 years ago

This might be kind of applicable – the old adage . . . “measure twice, cut once.” Has the socialism over there pickled the brains of their state engineers. What a sad kettle of fish. And good luck with getting the manufacturer to foot the bill for the new escalators! Sounds like the folks who did the measuring were really “out to lunch” at the time.

5 years ago

Yeah, well…it’s in France…isn’t it? Remembering history….planning ahead has never been one of their forte skills. They’ve often thrown in with the wrong set when they’ve tried to “figure.”

5 years ago

What do they need escalators for anyway? don’t their legs work? As long as I can walk,I’ll use the stairs;when I’m wheelchair bound I’ll use the nearest elevator. Must be all the rich food there making ’em to broad to walk up. In the meantime,they could sell the escalators on ebay for enough to get some the right size.