Without revealing figures, the SNCF told the Senate on Tuesday that it had seen an “extremely rare” influx of supporters leaving for Paris during the Champions League final, marked by numerous incidents.
The war of figures around spectators without tickets near the Stade de France on Saturday May 28 during the Champions League final ended up before two Senate committees on Tuesday. Since the incidents that broke out during the event, Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, Didier Lallement, Prefect of Police of Paris, and the French Football Federation have, together, estimated between “35,000 and 40,000” English supporters without ticket near the stadium, contributed to congesting access.
These figures, which are widely disputed by many observers, were based, according to the authorities, on the increased use of transport. The hearing of SNCF and RATP on Tuesday was therefore particularly awaited. But it did not really help to remove the mystery on this subject. There were indeed “manual” counts on the arrival of supporters on board public transport, disrupted by the strike on the southern part of RER B (managed by the RATP) causing a massive influx on RER D.
80,000 spectators came by transport, according to SNCF and RATP
“The system made it possible to transport 37,800 spectators by RER D and 6,200 by RER B, explains Christophe Fanichet, Chairman and CEO of SNCF Voyageurs. In normal times, RER B transports 21,600 people, and 9,600 on RER D We therefore transported more than 40% more passengers than usual, i.e. 44,000 against 31,200.”
The RATP also revealed its figures for the outward journey. “We had 36,000 passengers between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. for line 13, explained Philippe Martin, deputy general manager in charge of transport and maintenance operations. These are manual counts with two agents with a 5% margin of error. there were 10,500 travelers who left from the south to the Gare du Nord on the RER B, he added. Line B to the North carried 6,200 people to Saint-Denis. Roughly aggregated (since they include other users), these figures reach the “80,000 spectators expected” by the carriers for this occasion.
The SNCF did not count the number of travelers in the middle of the match
What about the use of transport lines during the meeting when the government claims to have seen a massive return of ticketless supporters to Paris? The SNCF has observed the phenomenon, without producing precise figures. “We do not count because we especially quickly put the device in place”, explained Sylvie Charles, director of Transilien (branch of the SNCF which manages the RER). “Following the influx of travelers wishing to return to Paris during the match, the reception system at the Plaine-Stade de France station was put back in place after the end of the first half at 10:52 p.m. on the RER B “, confirmed Fanichet.
In the absence of a precise estimate, Sylvie Charles confirms a very unusual attendance in the middle of the second period of the meeting, the kick-off of which was delayed by 36 minutes due to the chaos for entering the stadium. “Compared to the crowds in the middle of the match, it’s extremely rare, she assures. It was 10:50-52 p.m. It was not the end of the match since the start of the match had been delayed, it was We have a capacity to adapt which is half an hour, even quarter of an hour on match nights. We knew that the match would not end at the scheduled time. We saw people arrive. What we were told was that it was people without a ticket who, unable to enter the stadium, were going back to Paris. We put the system back in place, the one in the Plaine Stade station de France where we have staff who direct travelers to the right platform. This is what happened around 10:45 p.m.
The “partially” preserved images
Other points were discussed during these hearings, such as communication around the RER B strike. The RATP thus defended itself against the attacks of the FFF by ensuring that it had met the expectations of passengers. Another sensitive point: the CCTV images that the SNCF says it kept because of the aggression of a supporter in the La Plaine-Saint-Denis station.
“Usually, the video surveillance images are kept for 72 hours for storage reasons, confides Sylvie Charles. In this specific case, as we had an incident at Saint-Denis station, the railway security blocked since we can keep up to 30 days. On Friday, June 1, the railway security received a call from the territorial transport brigade asking to block images. A part was erased at the Plaine Saint-Denis but not all. There was a requisition (of Justice) in two stages, last Friday June 10 (during the hearing of the FFF).
“In terms of security, there are no major incidents inside the SNCF premises, with the exception of a post-match brawl at Saint-Denis station with an English supporter attacked. “, confirms Mr. Fanechet. We have observed numerous acts of delinquency. A hundred additional agents have been hired on our network. The system has been adapted to the needs of the event. It took place in good conditions, without congestion.”
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