Paris Public Transport Information Guide For The Buses The Metro Taxis & Trains

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Paris Public Transport General Information

Perhaps one of the most daunting tasks about understanding the transport system in Paris is remembering what the initials of each form transport stand for other than the metro which is self- explanatory.

All forms of transport are supervised by the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens commonly known as RATP. RATP are also directly responsible for the bus services.

Additionally there are individual management entities for the underground rail services – the metro and the overground rail services RER (Réseau Express Régional) who run suburban rail services. Both the companies have their own ticket systems and prices but in the very centre of Paris the prices are identical and a ticket issued by either company is also valid on the other network. RATP website

Inter-city services to and from other parts of France with connections other European destinations are run by the French National Railways SNCF see the France Country Profile For eurostar services see our eurostar page. .


Bus Services In Paris

Bus services in Paris start at around 6.30am and generally finish between 20.30 & 21.30. Buses with a two digit number serve central Paris. Buses with a three digit number travel out to the suburbs. At night the Noctambus services operate from around 1am until about 5am. These services are identified by letters rather than numbers.

Most bus stops have the name of the stop displayed on them and local bus inside them. When a bus approaches it is advisable to put your hand out. Board the bus at the door by the driver. When you get on the bus you should put your ticket in the machine to validate it. If you do not have a ticket you can purchase one from the driver but these are about 40% more expensive than pre-paid tickets. If you know where you are going press the red ‘stop’ button on the support rails when you want to get off. If you do not know where you are going explain to the driver where you want to go. Most Parisian bus drivers are helpful. When you get off use the rear exit.

Advance bus tickets in a set of ten known as a ‘carnet’ from metro and railway stations. They are also available from shops that have the ‘RATP’ logo displayed in the window. On some routes you will need more than one ticket. The carnet tickets are also valid on the Metro. Exceptions On night buses the carnet tickets are not valid you have to purchase the ticket from the bus driver. The night bus fares vary. Airport buses – the Orlybus and the Roissybus are more expensive and the tickets have to be purchased from the driver.


Metro Services In Paris

Apparently where ever you are in Paris you are less than 500 metres from one of the city’s 15 metro lines which are made up of 368 stations. One in four of these stations is an interchange station. It is estimated that over nine million people travel on this system daily. It is one of the most efficient an safe transport systems in Europe.

Metro services start at about 05.30 am and finish shortly after midnight. One carnet ticket will take you to any destination on the metro network.

When you begin your journey insert you ticket into the ticket turnstile to validate it. To identify which platform you need look at a map and establish which end of the line you will be travelling towards. The station at that end of the line will be named at the entrance to the platform you require. Thus if you are going westbound on Line 1 the entrance to the platform will display ‘La Defense’ the last station on the western end of the line. Note. Metro tickets are accepted on RER services (see below) operating within the metro zone. Free maps of metro services in Paris are available at metro stations.


RER Overground Surban Rail Services In Paris

RER services are suburban commuter trains which travel from the outskirts of Paris into its ventral downtown area. There are five RER lines identified by the letters A B C D or E. These services generally operate from around 05.30 am until shortly after midnight.

In the centre of Paris RER tickets are accepted at metro stations and vice versa. The prices are also the same. Outside central Paris these services have their own pricing structure which is zone based. On some routes including Disneyland Paris, Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport special individual fares apply. Free maps of metro services in Paris are available at metro stations. See also the Paris Pass below:


Taxis In Paris

You may hail a taxis in the street or hire one from one of the 500 blue street stands with white writing saying ‘TAXI’. You should be aware that taxis may only take three passengers at the same time and only a limited amount of luggage. Available taxis display a lit sign on the roof.

Fares are charged according to three tariffs. When you get in the tariff applicable will be displayed by a coloured light: Rate A is charged when a white light is shown. Rate B is charged when a orange light is shown. Rate C is charged when a blue light is shown.

In central Paris Rate A applies between 07.00am and 19.00 Monday – Saturday after which Rate B applies from 19.00 until 7am any night and all day Sundays.

Rate C only applies at night in the suburbs and during the day on trips to Haut de Seine, Seine St. Denis, and Val de Marne.

Additional charges are for a fourth passenger luggage, and pick ups at airports and train stations.


The Paris Travel Pass – Paris Metro Visite pass

The ‘Paris Visite’ pass offers you unlimited travel in Paris on buses, the metro, and RER train services and some national rail services. It also offers some discounts at a number of tourist attractions.

Passes are available in three inner zones or six greater Paris zones. They can be purchased for 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive zones. These passes are fairly priced – a three zone pass for one day costs less than €15 for five days less than €35 – with children aged 4 -11 eligible for discount of around 50% on adult prices. Children aged three or under travel free.

More information on these passes is available here..



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