France is now in its second week of transport strikes, with today the public rail company (SNCF) and the national airline (Air France) both out on the streets and not serving their customers.
So far the government of President Emmanuel Macron has refused any sort of negotiation on the reforms it has planned. Three more months of strikes await French citizens desperate for some form of transport.
For the train services, it is quite simple, the SNCF unions have announced a calendar of two striking days per week and on those, you’re lucky to find one train in ten riding.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Here's the calendar I got from one of my French friends<br>'Grève' means 'Strike' so don't even bother to try and get a train down there on these days<br>If you're planning something in France my advice postpone it <a href="https://t.co/hhgqVm33Sz">pic.twitter.com/hhgqVm33Sz</a></p>— Jeremy Blackwell #FBSI (@Jeremy4Scotland) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jeremy4Scotland/status/983091822644822016?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 8, 2018</a></blockquote>
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For the planes of Air France, additional strikes have now been announced for 10 and 11, 17 and 18, and 23 and 24 April. However, the effect of the current 48 hours of industrial action could lead to a higher proportion of cancellations as there is a backlog to cope with, which means more aircraft and crew out of position.
Air France claimed that at this moment it is “too early to evaluate the possible impacts on these days”.
However, just as in the Benelux countries, who have seen these kinds of reforms already, the public transport sector strikes usually mean a boon for travel apps who just at that time get discovered by most people for the first time.
And so last week saw record business for Uber, Waze, Blablacar and Chauffeur Privé, all apps available via French telecom operators.
Mr Jùrome Marty, country manager for Waze in France admitted: “The strikes were a real boost to us.”
“According to our community of map editors, we had the greatest number of simultaneous users ever in the Ile-de-France region.” (the area of Paris and its surrounding communities).
Uber meanwhile offers a 20% discount to first-time users during the strikes and also admitted a rise in usage.