PARIS – It’s the announcement Paris metro passengers dread: Traffic has been disrupted due to a traveller fainting in another train miles down the tracks.

A commuter passing out on the French capital’s underground causes their train to stop to wait for rescue services, and provokes delays of up to 45 minutes along the line.

There were on average 10 such incidents a day in 2018, according the capital’s RATP transport authority, including because panicked fellow travellers sounded a danger alarm that caused the train to grind to a halt on the tracks, sometimes in a tunnel.

It said 98 per cent of cases – announced to passengers on the metro as a “malaise voyageur” – were “mild” dizzy spells.

But with the Paris Olympics just months away, the head of the Paris region on Feb 27 said the old policy of keeping unwell passengers on board would be scrapped.

“When a passenger feels unwell, we will… no longer stop the train,” said Ms Valerie Pecresse, who is head of the Ile-de-France region that includes Paris and is responsible for its transport system.

“What we need is to get the person out of the train” so they can be treated on the platform, she added, saying a new standard emergency response plan had been validated.

Some social media users poked fun at the announcement with GIFs, including one of a man being lobbed into a rubbish skip.

There has been growing concern over the quality of service of Paris trains as commuters suffer delays and breakdowns just months away from the Olympics.

Other causes for hold-ups include unattended luggage.

Ms Pecresse said transport authorities would not remove suspicious packages but use sniffer dogs to inspect them more rapidly.

On the RER B line connecting the capital with the Charles de Gaulle international airport some 360 bags were left unattended a year, she said.

The regional transport authority has also come under fire for increasing the price of metro tickets during the Olympics. AFP



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