As a cyclist I seldom use the Métro in Paris, but in recent years I have had occasion to take line # 4 several times, mainly going to and from my hotel with my luggage or, once, going to the theatre in a torrential rainstorm.
The trains on this line now run on rubber tires, for a smoother and quieter ride, but they still have human drivers and do not (yet) have glass walls between the tracks and the platforms, as on lines 1 and 14. The glass walls in the stations of line 4 are scheduled to be installed on evenings and weekends throughout the year 2020, and completely automated service is supposed to begin at the end of 2022.
Line # 4 is the one that runs from Porte de Clignancourt in the north to Mairie de Montrouge in the south, by way of the North and East railway stations, Châtelet-Les Halles, Saint Michel, Montparnasse-Bienvenüe and Porte d’Orléans. I used to take this line sometimes when I was a student in Paris half a century ago, but now I more often use the Vélib’ bikes or the number 38 bus.
In addition to the rubber tires, the trains now have very clear station announcements. The clarity is enhanced by the fact that each station is named twice, first with an upward intonation on the last syllable (to indicate that more is still to come) and second with a downward intonation, indicating that the announcement in finished.
On the new tramways the announcements are even clearer because there are two voices, first a man’s voice with an upward intonation on the last syllable and then a woman’s voice with a downward intonation, or visa-versa.
With the coming of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, travel on public transport has become more problematic, especially for those of us in high-risk groups. Because most people have to stay at home, the frequency of Métro, bus and tram service has been reduced.
My photos in this post are from 2014. I revised the text in 2020.
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