Once the Paris Bercy bus station is closed, after the 2024 Olympics, the stops of the "Macron cars" could be dispersed outside Paris. This is in any case what is envisaged by the Parisian municipality. The first deputy mayor of Paris Emmanuel Grégoire had justified in early September the closure of the site by the "incivilities related to the hyper-frequentation of the place", which has become according to him "a dump" since the arrival of long-distance coaches in 2017.
The elected socialist had recently explained in Le Parisien "want to think about a new distribution" of stations, especially with Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM) and the metropolis. He said he was in favor of "small bus stations on the major transport hubs" of the region, such as Orly, Roissy or Marne-la-Vallée, as well as some stations of the future metro of Greater Paris. According to him, these services would be more accessible to the entire population of the Paris region.
"We need a real hub in Paris"
If today 83% of bus users arriving in Ile-de-France are destined for Bercy station, "there is a network that is undoubtedly to be strengthened" thanks to these new metro links, abounds Patricia Pelloux, deputy director of the Parisian workshop of urbanism. On the side of the operators, we readily recognize the problems of cleanliness and safety, but dispersing the stops several tens of minutes by metro or RER from Paris does not seem "viable".
We need a real hub, if possible in Paris intramuros, "says FlixBus, which regrets that the town hall has always refused its "proposals for investment and improvement for the station" of Bercy, except the creation of a (small) waiting room. The same goes for BlaBlaCar, which deplores a closure decided "without consultation with the operators". The company nevertheless wants to see "an opportunity" to build "a large single bus station, with the necessary facilities", in Paris or its immediate periphery as "in any other European capital".
To justify their reluctance to disperse their services beyond the Paris ring road, coach operators explain that Paris is the final destination of the majority of their customers. According to a survey conducted by the town hall in 2022, 44% of travelers taking a coach in Bercy come from Paris, and the capital is the destination of 60% of users who stop there. The connections concern only "30% of our passengers", we point out to FlixBus.
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The station will return to its original function
Arriving from Metz, Maureen is waiting for her coach for Bordeaux. This 22-year-old student to whom the trip cost "only 21 euros", would be "largely" discouraged if she had to change stations between her two buses. "If it's to do an hour of transport it's silly, especially if you're loaded like that," she says, looking at her big suitcase. A "break-up" of the bus station on the outskirts would be "pejorant for the traveler," warns Michel Quidort, vice-president of the National Federation of Transport Users Associations (Fnaut). "We must maintain a strong intermodality with other powerful modes of transport," he adds, taking the example of Marseille Saint-Charles station served by trains, regional buses and the metro.
If the operators of intercity coaches hoped that the site would close only at the "deadline of delegation of public service", after the summer of 2026, the mayor of Paris reaffirmed its willingness to close it "at the end of the Olympic Games of 2024", arguing that the contract of delegation of public service, awarded to a company controlled majority by the city, planned to accommodate only tourist buses as a parking lot and not as a transit station. At the end of 2024, Bercy-Seine should therefore return to its original function as a parking lot for tourist buses and the more than 300 FlixBus and BlaBlaCar buses that stop there every day will have to find a new drop-off point.