Paris 2024 transport will force Parisians to reinvent themselves. GETTY IMAGES

A saturated public transport system, such as is expected during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, will affect the habits of Parisians. They will have to change their routines and travel in different ways. Telecommuting will be an alternative for those who can afford it.

Cycling, walking, telecommuting. Or simply fleeing the city. Residents of the Paris region are exploring strategies to adapt to a public transport system that is expected to be overwhelmed during the Olympics, but many will not have the luxury of considering these alternatives. Even if they wanted to, many may not be able to adjust to a different way of life between 26 July and 11 August.

"Don't be afraid to walk a little, it's good for your health". This statement by Valérie Pécresse, president of the Île-de-France region, which includes Paris, caused surprise last Monday during the presentation of the detailed transport plan for the Olympic Games, as reported by AFP. 

The left accused her of being unaware of the situation of the inhabitants of the capital's suburbs. They will have to endure long commutes with few alternatives in the absence of effective public transport. However, Pécresse said: "A third of visitors during the Games will be between 25 and 35 years old. They could therefore sometimes extend their journeys by walking."

For public transport users, the situation will be confusing, with long waits and the risk of delays due to overcrowded lines. Metro line 10 is one of the highlights. It runs through the residential areas of Paris and ends in the fashionable district of Boulogne-Billancourt. 

Residents will face long waits on platforms during Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES
Residents will face long waits on platforms during Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES

Like line 9, it is not designed to take the public to the Parc des Princes and Roland Garros, the venues for football - the former - and tennis and boxing - the latter - at the same time during the Games.

"I am very scared. It could be an indescribable circus," Arthur Poly, a 36-year-old researcher and teacher, told AFP as he waited for the metro at Motte-Picquet-Grenelle station in the capital's 15th arrondissement. He has to work during the Games and his solution will be to "walk", the resident of the fifth arrondissement added.

Marie-Claude, a 73-year-old pensioner and regular user of line 10, will be going to her holiday home. And Coline, who works in the computer security sector, will opt for "teleworking. It was recommended to us. We might have to do a bit more than usual," she explains. Coline also has the option of leaving the city "if I get bored at home".

However, not everyone will have the luxury of being able to telecommute and solve the problem that way. Those who cannot will be faced with long walks or long waits. Line 13, always full. Running from the city centre to the working-class districts of Seine-Saint-Denis and the Stade de France, it will fill and empty up to three times a day during the Games.

Neighbours will see cycling as an alternative to using public transport. GETTY IMAGES
Neighbours will see cycling as an alternative to using public transport. GETTY IMAGES

"Leaving Paris during the Games? Where to?" asks a surprised Christian Boukassa on the platform of La Fourche station. It takes the 43-year-old construction worker 45 minutes every day to get to the site where he works in Saint-Denis.

Telecommuting, walking or cycling are out of the question for this worker, who gets anxious just thinking about it. Not to mention a hypothetical second home. "Boukassa says of his 'shock plan' for the Games: "I will try to check my GPS and change my route.

"Even without the Games, line 13 is full," recalls Nafi Olouchy, a 62-year-old nurse. She has no choice but to continue working during the Olympics, as public hospital workers have been asked not to take any holidays. She is preparing for 15 difficult days and a long commute. "I will have to endure the traffic during the Games, just like my colleagues," she pointed out.

Yaya Fofana, a parcel handler who lives in Saint-Ouen, also north of the capital. Not everyone is protesting and resigning. Even Fofana admits that having the Games at home is a luxury. "I love the Olympics," he said, before pushing his son's pram into a metro carriage packed with passengers.