“We came close to disaster, so this is a huge relief,” said President of Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM) Valérie Pécresse on 8 September, following the conclusion of talks to cover EUR2.6bn in pandemic-related losses incurred by the Parisian regional transport authority.
Under the agreement, the Government will subsidise between 80% and 100% of the reduction in versement mobilité revenue (VM is a payroll tax on companies with more than 11 employees), as much as EUR1bn. A further EUR1.1-1.4bn is being made available to cover lost fare income in the form of a zero-rate loan to be repaid over 16 years. An advance of EUR425m was paid to IDFM on 7 September. Tram, bus and train operators RATP and SNCF will cover the remaining amount.
Ridership had returned to around 60% of pre-pandemic levels in September, with IDFM, RATP and SNCF embarking on campaigns to restore passenger confidence: “We tripled the cleaning and disinfection of transport,” Mme Pécresse said. “If you wear the mask and wash your hands, transport is very safe. Under these conditions, we have the strictest standards at the world level.”