The Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) is the primary public transportation provider in Paris, operating the Metro, most buses, eight tram lines, the Montmartre Funicular, and parts of the RER. The RATP was created when the Metro operator, Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris, and bus operator, Société des transports en commun de la région parisienne, merged on March 21, 1948. These organizations came in to being from other mergers that had taken place earlier in time.
Today, the Paris Metro has 14 main lines, 2 branch lines, 133 miles (214 kilometers) of track, and over 300 stations. The subway stations are generally spaced about 0.5 kilometers apart. As a result, there are 245 stations within the city borders, one of the densest collections of subway stations in the world. The RATP also operates 59 bus routes within Paris city limits and 205 routes within the city’s suburbs, and 3 tramlines that use Alstom Citadis trams of various models.
The Réseau Express Régional (RER) is the equivelent of a US commuter rail system, connecting Paris with its suburbs. The RER has 5 lettered lines with numerous branches, serving 365 miles (587 kilometers) and 257 stations. Much of the RER is underground in downtown Paris and functions as an “express” service that complements the “local” Metro lines.
Finally, the RATP operates an extensive bus system with 347 routes, 4,490 buses and 12,876 drivers. Nearly one billion passengers use the buses each year.
The MF67 Stock is the most plentiful and easily found on the Paris Metro. A total of 1,482 cars were built, and they currently operate on lines 2, 3, 3bis, 5, 9, 10, and 12. These cars are very similar to the MP59 stock, with the main difference being that these cars have steel wheels for use on conventional tracks, not rubber tires. There are actually six types of MF67 Stock, but the differences among them are subtle, and they are essentially one and the same. The first MF67 Stock entered service on Line 3 on December 21, 1967.
MF77 Stock were manufactured by SFB and Alstom and first entered service on September 13, 1978. The MF77 Stock was designed for use on the Metro lines that extended further into the suburbs, and have features that commuters traveling longer distances would appreciate having, such as slightly wider seats, fewer but wider doors, and plusher seating cushions. Currently, the MF77 Stock operates on lines 7, 8, and 13.
The MF88 Stock was the first train on the Paris Metro with articulated joints between the cars, allowing passengers to walk from one end of the train to the other without needing to exit the train. The MF88 Stock was delivered between December 1992 and June 1994 and entered service on Line 7bis in October 1994. The entire MF88 Stock of 27 cars continues to operate on Line 7bis.
The first train of MF2000 Stock entered service in late December 2007 on Line 2. The MF2000 is an updated version of the MP89 Stock designed for the steel-wheeled lines. The trainsets allow unrestricted movement throughout the train and have driver operated doors like the MP89 Stock, but also have new features such as illuminated strip maps (similar to the R142, R142A, and R143 in New York City), LCDs displaying information about the next stop including area maps, and air conditioning. Upon the delivery of the MF2000 trainsets, MF67 trainsets were retired. Currently, the MF2000 operates on lines 2, 5, and 9.
The MP59 Stock was ordered at the time that the RATP decided to convert Lines 1 and 4 to rubber tired operation. These were not the first "pneu" stock ordered, but they are currently the oldest "pneu" stock currently in service. They entered service in 1963 and currently operate on Line 11. They used to also operate on Line 1 and Line 4 but many have been retired as newer trains have been purchased and introduced in to service.
The RATP had initially planned to convert all of its subway lines to rubber tired operation. However, after converting lines 11, 1, and 4, the RATP came to realize that the process of converting the entire subway would take so long, it was not a worthwhile project to pursue. (It did decide that all future lines could have rubber tires though, so Line 14 was constructed for that type of operation.) However, it decided to convert one last line from steel wheels to rubber tires, the mostly elevated Line 6. The RATP also had to order rolling stock for this line, and that stock was the MP73. The MP73 Stock is similar to the MP59 Stock, but has a few modifications to make the car fare better when running on the elevated line. The first MP73 Stock was delivered in 1974. All MP73 Stock currently operate on Line 6.
MP89CA Stock is rubber tired and fully automated stock that operates on Line 14. These fully articulated trains offer unrestricted movement throughout the entire train from front to rear and have a full window at the front of the train allowing for a view of the tunnel because there is no driver cab; the trains are fully automatic but have operators' controls at each end for emergency use. Additionally, the MP89CA Stock has fewer seats to allow for additional space for standees. Other than these differences, the MP89CA and MP89CC Stock found on Line 4 are identical.
MP89CC Stock, initially launched on Line 1 but transferred to Line 4 in 2011-2013, are 6 car trainsets with articulated joints, allowing for unrestricted movement throughout the entire train. The MP89CC Stock was the first on the Paris Metro to have all the doors opened on the train by the driver instead of a passenger operated door with a latch or button being used to open the doors at each station, and the first to have automated announcements. The MP89CC Stock entered service on Line 1 on February 27, 1997. Currently, 52 trainsets are in service.
Paris has one of the highest density of subway stations in the world. There are a total of 303 stations in the entire network, and 245 stations within the Parisian city borders (34 square miles). As a result, no point within the city borders is more than 1,600 feet (500 meters) from a station entrance.
Paris's original tram lines began operation in 1855 with horse-drawn lines. They were upgraded to steam, pneumatic engines, and finally, electricity, before the last of these lines was discontinued in 1938. The RATP began to build newer, modern tram lines towards the end of the 20th Century. The first of these lines opened in 1992. As of 2014, there are nine lines in operation, one of which is operated by the SNCF.
The RER is Paris's suburban rail system. The network has 257 stations along 5 lines and 365 miles of track. Within Paris itself, the RER trains connect to the Metro at several points, and the same fare media is accepted both on the RER and Metro, but the RER makes fewer stops, effectively functioning as an express train compared to the Metro, which operates the "local" trains. RER trains are powered by overhead catenary and run using a "left-handed operation", like the SNCF trains throughout the rest of France, whereas the Metro uses third rail power and operates "right-handed."