Drivers from the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP), Paris’s publicly-owned transport company have pinpointed a series of stations to the north of Paris where criminality and a drug culture present a danger to passengers.
The union says the number of violent attacks on employees has increased dramatically in recent months, impacting the safety of RATP employees.
French broadcaster BFMTV reported that the RATP union UNSA, drug addicts and dealers have become daily features of lines 4 and 12 at stations like Marcadet Poissonnier and Porte de la Chapelle.
Migrant squatter camps around Porte de la Chapelle are said to have contributed to the drug problem.
According to the RATP they are, together with local police, addressing the matter. At the end of 2017, an agreement was signed with the police to “allow better care for drug addicts present in the metro spaces”.
But UNSA and the Federation of Transport and Public Service Users, an advocacy group for transit users, say the measures being applied currently are not enough.
Both organisations have complained to Interior Minister Gerald Collomb, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and president of the Ile-de-France regional council Valérie Pécresse requesting “urgent and serious measures be rapidly implemented”.
The northern suburbs of Paris, where mostly migrants live, have long been no-go zones, but the violence and crime have been spilling over into the Paris metro.
The presence of drug addicts, particularly crack consumers, is not without problems of insecurity. Drivers say not stopping at some stations, would preserve the “integrity” of commuters.
At Marcadet Poissonnier, line 4, a woman simply sits on the platform lighting her crack pipe. A few stops further, at Porte de la Chapelle, an African man does the same, while commuters around him continue to use the metro.
But fights often break out on the busy platform, and drivers say they are forced not to stop. “When there is a fight, at that moment, they take precautions not to mark a stop “, explains Jean-Marc Judith, union representative of UNSA-RATP.
French courier Chronopost announced last year that it would no longer deliver packages to the migrant suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis in the north of Paris because it had become too dangerous for their staff.
In the north of the city women are constantly being harassed by migrants who often refuse to allow them into certain cafes. A “no-go zone” app was released for mobile phones so that users may avoid areas with a high number of crime reports.
Breitbart London reported that bus drivers were avoiding certain stops in the suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois in February last year because of the ongoing riots.