Who hasn't been taken one day by a pressing desire?
When this natural need arises in a closed place without sanitary facilities, it can quickly turn into a nightmare.
R line travelers, recently deprived of toilets on trains, know something about this.
But, since this week, they have free access to the toilets (normally paying) in hall 2 of the Gare de Lyon, in Paris.
This measure is the new response of Ile-de-France Mobilités (IDFM) to criticism of Paris-Melun-Montereau users who denounce the lack of toilets in the Régio 2N, the new trains that have been deployed on the Transilien line since 2017 to improve regularity.
90 cents to relieve himself so far
Access to “private” public toilets, which the Dutch company 2theloo manages at Gare de Lyon and other major Parisian stations, normally costs 90 cents.
IDFM, which has asked the concessionaire to open them free of charge to passengers on the R line (and more generally to any holder of a valid Navigo pass), will pay the “pee lady” in their place.
Read alsoToilets removed in trains and RER: the puzzle (and sometimes the ordeal) of Ile-de-France residents
“It is a palliative that we have been calling for for a long time. But that does not solve the problem of the lack of toilets in the trains ", underlines Cédric Thomas, elected from Fontainebleau and president and founder of the group of users of the line R." It is not an anecdotal question but a real one. subject ”, he specifies, recalling that journeys on the line which serves the south of Seine-et-Marne and Loiret can last up to an hour and a half. Even much longer in the event of a breakdown or incident on the line, as has been the case very recently. The very many messages from travelers who "let go" on social networks prove that the "toilet subject" is a concern for many of the 75,000 daily users of the line.
So in the new R line trains there are outlets but no more toilets?
I do not have the words
- Cam (@camiuuux) September 11, 2020
Transilien line R. A train without toilets, for a journey of 1h17.
Obviously made to pack a maximum of people standing.
@FDhersin We're running out of oars right now, but we don't want them like that.
@SNCFvamtuer @Asso_LUTECE pic.twitter.com/n6KZ4jZic2
- Courteaux Alexandra (@ CourteauxAlexa1) November 27, 2019
The option of trains without toilets was chosen when the new rolling stock was ordered in 2014, to gain seats in the trains, but also because the toilets of the old trains generated traffic and insecurity.
Since then, IDFM has been trying to correct what travelers refer to as a “startup error”.
“We have started a program to build automatic toilets in stations.
By the end of 2022, 13 of the line's 24 stations will be equipped, ”says Laurent Probst, CEO of IDFM.
€ 26 million to equip trains on the R line with toilets
The Ile-de-France transport operator and Bombardier (manufacturer of the Régio 2N) have also carried out a study to assess what it would cost to install toilets "a posteriori" in the 42 new trains of the R line. Result : 26 million euros to equip the trains themselves, 16 million euros to build "recovery" systems in depots and 1 million euros in annual operating costs! “IDFM is ready to finance this program. Next month, we are going to launch a survey-consultation in the stations of the line to collect the opinions of users on this investment ”, specifies Laurent Probst.
Beyond the big problem of missing toilets in the Régio 2N, the general manager of IDFM stresses that the commissioning of the new trains - however much criticized for their relative reliability - has nevertheless allowed a marked improvement in the operation of the line. A. The regularity rate, which barely exceeded 83% in 2017 (one of the lowest in the Ile-de-France network) fell to 88.3% in 2020 and has flirted with 90% since the start of the year.
Paris lyon's train station.
Forty-two Regio 2N trains - air-conditioned, heated, equipped with electrical outlets ... but no toilets - were deployed on the R line to replace the old rolling stock.
LP / Benoit Hasse
"From the point of view of comfort in the trains and regularity, the improvement is real ... but may not be sustainable", relativizes Cédric Thoma, recalling that the tracks of the R line, widely used by many trains (goods, TER of Burgundy ...), are subject to frequent traffic conflicts. The breakdown of a freight train this Wednesday in the Lieusaint sector (Seine-et-Marne), moreover disrupted the operation of the line for a good part of the day.
“The drop in rail traffic linked to the health crisis logically led to a drop in this type of incident last year. But it is too early to know if the first improvements observed in the regularity of the R will be maintained when normal traffic resumes, ”concludes the user representative. In the immediate future, he asks IDFM to communicate the free toilets at the Gare de Lyon to users ... but also to 2theloo employees. At the start of the week, the latter, unaware of the measure, were still asking 90 cents to access the sanitary facilities.