© Getty Images -  Paris 2024

The International Olympic Committee expressed its reassurance regarding the transportation plans for the 2024 Paris Olympics after the socialist mayor, Anne Hidalgo, voiced significant criticisms of the transportation infrastructure leading up to the upcoming Summer Olympic Games.

Christophe Dubi, the Executive Director of the IOC, stated at a press conference in Paris, where the Olympic body is holding a meeting of its executive board, that it was normal to have work to do at this distance from organizing an Olympic Games: "We have reviewed the transportation plans with our experts and all stakeholders." He also spoke about the complexity of the transportation system, which must accommodate one million spectators per day in the French capital. "It is an extremely complex operation, and obviously, we all agree on that, including in the center of Paris, where you have many different locations with probably a million spectators per day. This is a great opportunity to really showcase how beautiful their city is, but at the same time, it is a significant challenge in terms of transportation."

Dubi added, "Based on the explanation from all stakeholders, we are very reassured. We still have seven or eight months before the Games. There is still quite a bit of work to be done, and that is absolutely normal."

The Spanish-born Parisian mayor, Anne Hidalgo, did not hold back in her criticism of Paris's transportation system last week, stating, "We still have problems with daily transportation, and we have not yet achieved the comfort and punctuality necessary for Parisians." In her opinion, "There are places where transportation will not be ready, and there will not be enough trains."

In response, the Minister of Transportation, Clement Beaune, a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron (center-right), accused Hidalgo (center-left) of not attending committee meetings discussing transportation infrastructure.

Paris - Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Paris - Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Meanwhile, the Head of the Ile-de-France region, including Paris, Valerie Pecresse (Right), expressed optimism, stating that they will be ready for the event, and the collective work is immense and cannot be overshadowed by an absent mayor.

With less than a year until the event begins, Paris's transportation infrastructure is already under significant pressure, with complaints from residents and tourists about low frequency, overcrowding, and lack of cleanliness.

It is noteworthy that it is a common practice for the Olympic Games to be used to improve the existing infrastructure in cities, as well as to establish the city and country's brand in tourism. However, it is also true that many times it is used to make various claims by people who are often unheard.

Regarding infrastructure, in the last Olympics with spectators (Tokyo 2020 took place in 2021 without spectators), held in the impressive Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the infrastructure was only fully inaugurated once the Olympic Games had already begun. The Metro that would connect the epicenter of the Games in Barra de Tijuca with Ipanema and the Centro Sur area of the capital ended up being much inferior to the projected one, and shuttle buses were used to complete the missing part before its inauguration.