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The Metro: a Parisian institution

For 113 years, the metro has been a defining feature of Paris... Its network is now one of the densest in the world.

Every day, RATP demonstrates its expertise, managing massive passenger traffic in a very dense urban network while continuing to offer the best possible quality of service to its customers.

From the automation of line 1 to the extension of lines that date back over 100 years, the Paris metro is still changing, as it strives to meet the needs of the 21st century.

The Paris Metro:

  • 14 lines
  • 303 stations
  • 205 km of tracks
  • Over 1.5 billion passengers per year

A network denser than any other in the world: nowhere in Paris is more than 500m from a metro station.

 How a metro line operates

This educational video shows how a metro line operates, presenting the different stages of the running of trains: departure, regulation, safety, terminal station, management of service disruptions and maintenance.

General characteristics of the metro

  • First train leaves terminal station: 5:30 a.m.
  • Last train reaches terminal station (Sunday to Thursday): 1:15 a.m.
  • Last train reaches terminal station (Fridays, Saturdays and days before public holidays): 2:15 a.m.
  • Number of trains in service during morning rush hour: 565
  • Number of trains in service during evening rush hour: 541


  • Number of steel-wheel-on-steel-rail trains: 509
  • Number of rubber-tyred trains: 190
    (Figures from 2012)

The safety, continuity, regularity and accessibility of our services are daily preoccupations for our metro teams. The metro employs some 10,000 personnel, including 3,100 drivers and 4,000 staff responsible for welcoming, informing and guiding customers. The introduction of new technologies and the company’s constant desire to modernise have led to the emergence of a number of innovative additional services. The automation of line 1 and the project to alleviate overcrowding on line 13 are two priorities being pursued at present.

Serving passengers

Ensuring the safety, reliability and quality of our services is a priority for us. RATP attempts to anticipate customer expectations by introducing new services, increasing flexibility and adapting timetables to changing lifestyles. It is continuously working to enhance the quality of its services, as well as its relations with customers, by offering its passengers greater comfort, better information, and a more attentive and considerate service. In 2009, it launched the ambitious “Métroservice” project, focussing primarily on the after-sales service and on passenger information.

Since 1999, RATP has embarked upon a major metro renovation programme, which aims to modernise stations while showing off the network's heritage to its best advantage (link to “Un Métro plus beau”).

Four lines extended

By the end of 2013, four metro line extensions were in progress:


Picto METROMétro ligne 4 Extension from Mairie de Montrouge to Bagneux / Target opening date: 2019
The 1.7 km extension of line 4 will concern the towns of Montrouge and Bagneux. Il will include 2 new stations.


Picto METROMétro ligne 11 Extension from Mairie des Lilas to Rosny-Bois-Perrier / Target opening date: end of 2019
With an additional 6.3 km and six new stations, line 11 will serve 5 towns in eastern Paris: Les Lilas, Noisy-le-Sec, Montreuil, Romainville and Rosny-sous-Bois.


Picto METROMétro ligne 12 Extension from Front Populaire to Mairie d'Aubervilliers / Target opening date: end of 2017
Line 12 is to be extended by 2 stations up to Mairie d'Aubervilliers.


Picto METROMétro ligne 14 Extension from Saint-Lazare to Mairie de Saint-Ouen / Target opening date: 2017
The extension of line 14 to Mairie de Saint-Ouen in the north has been identified as the most efficient solution to the problem of overcrowding on line 13.

Advantages of the MF01 trains

7213d08The new MF01 trains are operated on lines 2, 5 and 9. Their modern style, new interior decor, wider seats and more comfortable carriages are just four of their many assets. Onboard sound levels have been reduced to 66 decibels when the train is running at 70 kph. The air conditioning system ensures maximum inflow of fresh air in summer and keeps the interior temperature a few degrees lower than the external temperature. The high-CRI lighting provides a bright yet soothing environment. A video surveillance system allows the drivers to detect the slightest problem in the carriages and take action where required.

The MF01 consumes less energy than the train it is replacing, the MF67. 161 MF01 trains can provide the same service previously performed by 170 MF67 trains.

Network safety and availability

In order for a multimodal transport network to operate safely and provide a high quality of service, all equipment must be available at all times, and it must be possible to resolve any technical problems rapidly. This requires irreproachable maintenance and an understanding of the economic stakes involved. With more than 10,000 employees and a yearly budget of over one billion euro, maintenance is one of the RATP’s strengths. It is an area in which the company has exceptional skills and know-how.

The network has more than 50 local workshops performing constant maintenance on 5,000 metro and RER carriages, 4,500 buses and several hundred trams. All of the RATP’s maintenance teams have the same priorities: to ensure the safety, continuity of service and availability of equipment. These commitments require constant maintenance of hundreds of kilometres of metro and RER tracks and thousands of escalators and ticket dispensers.