Paris transport is seeking thousands new staff
Paris transport is seeking thousands new staff AFP News

The Paris regional transit authority said Monday that it was seeking to hire thousands of employees to beef up services in time for the coming Rugby World Cup this year and the summer Olympics in 2024.

State-owned RATP, which operates the greater Paris transport system including metro, suburban RER rail services and trams as well as buses, said it hoped to recruit 6,600 new staff, including 4,900 on long-term contracts.

"This unprecedented recruitment campaign is aimed at meeting demands made on the network and preparing for major coming events which are the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024," RATP said in a statement.

Over this year, the operator hopes to hire 2,700 bus drivers, 400 metro drivers, 700 station agents, 400 maintenance workers and 120 security guards.

A former prime minister, Jean Castex, was appointed to head RATP at the end of last year, charged with improving services that have suffered from strikes, service cancellations, staff shortages and absenteeism as the country emerged from Covid-19 restrictions.

Castex initially put the recruitment target at 4,500 for this year to help remedy RATP's services, which he said had "deteriorated".

The RATP said it hoped to boost staff diversity in the recruitment drive, including by hiring more women.

The French capital has ambitious plans for the 2024 Summer Olympics, including having Olympians sail down the Seine river on 200 boats in front of a crowd of 600,000 people for the opening ceremony.

Some 35,000 security forces are to be deployed for the opening ceremony, with organisers told to add 3,000 privately hired security staff.

The city is also working to improve infrastructure, including building more cycling paths, a key policy of Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Paris visitors will be able to cycle all the way from the city centre to 2024 Olympics sports sites on its outskirts, officials said this month.

Hidalgo said the bike paths, which the city has dubbed "Olympilanes", would be a great legacy for the city.

City hall is also in overdrive to green Paris and make the Seine clean enough for swimming.

The Rugby World Cup kicks off in September, with hosts France meeting New Zealand in the opening match.