10 October 2019

[Technical Cooperation Egypt] Visit of an Egyptian delegation to Paris and Marseille

As part of the Technical Cooperation co-signed between AFD, CEREMA, CODATU and the Egyptian Ministry of Transport (MoT), a study tour was organized from September 24th to 27th in Paris and in Marseille.

The Egyptian delegation was represented by:

  • Wael Naeim ELSHAHED, Minister’s Advisor for investments and loans at the Ministry of Transport;
  • Ahmed ALGIAR, CEO Deputy for Marketing & Revenues at the ECM (Egyptian Company for Metro Operation and Management);
  • Mohamed ELGHRABAWY, Civil Engineering General Manager at the ECM;
  • Mme Ola BAKRY ALI, Architect, Chief Engineer at the NAT (National Authority for Tunnels);
  • And M. Khaled AYAD, Architect, Chief Engineer at the NAT.

The study tour focused on two main topics: intermodality, and commercial operations in railway and metro stations. The participant had the opportunity to address these issues through visiting several railway and metro stations in Paris and Marseille, and meeting with French representatives: Ile-de-France Mobilité, Société du Grand Paris (SGP), RATP, SNCF Hubs&Connexions, AREP et Marseille Métropole. The delegation was briefed on the urban transport system in Paris and Marseille, and they learned more about the Grand Paris Express project. They also had the opportunity to talk about advertising with JCDecaux, about the bike-sharing system with Marseille Metropole, and about the urban redevelopment project Euroméditerranée.

Intermodality and interchanges stations studies

Following the workshop on the interchange stations design held in January 2019 in Cairo, this study tour in France was the opportunity for the delegation, on the one hand, to visit interchanges models and city-hubs, and, on the other hand, to talk with experts and intermodality project managers who work daily on this issue.

With IdF Mobilité and SGP, the Egyptians enquire about the tools, steps of planning and components of interchanges technical studies that are completed or currently underway. Among others, they talked about the typology of interchange stations, the objectives of space and transport planning in city-hubs, and the link with the Urban Mobility Plan (Plan de Déplacement Urbain).

The comments were illustrated by several examples of major stations, but also other places such as the station Mairie des Lilas, Créteil Pompadour, or La Courneuve in Greater Paris. These last ones have similar issues to those tackled during the intermodal workshop in Cairo (localization on the periphery, major roads, pedestrian issues… etc.)

As a consultancy and design office, AREP presented some French and abroad cases by detailing the different scales considered while reflecting on a project. The office also highlighted the importance of space quality and the architectural value of the transit buildings.

Throughout the visit, the participants were able to take public transport in Paris and Marseille and observe the advantages and the results in terms of intermodality. They visit main stations such as the Gare de Lyon, the Saint-Lazare station, the Châtelet-les-Halles metro station, and Marseille Saint-Charles station. They observe the importance of integrated services and facilities such as ticketing systems, information, accessibility equipment for different means of transport… etc.

the Aix-En-Provence TGV station was particularly convincing in terms of the development of services focused on the traveling experience. The participant observed several facilities in this station: waiting areas and furniture, workspace design, landscape integration of the building, clarity of the multimodality connections and paths … etc. Also, the experimentation and innovative projects that are carried out there.

Utilization of commercial and advertising spaces in railway and metro stations

The delegation addressed these issues with RATP, SNCF H&C, AREP, and JCDecaux.

Regarding advertising, the Egyptians discussed with RATP about their advertising strategies in the French metro. It was the opportunity to see the recent development of new advertising mediums and the pros and cons of each medium (paper or digital) with their different technical specifications. More than marketing operations, they talked about what they could provide and experiment through promotional activities such as events for enhancing the passenger experience in transit spaces.

In another session, JCDecaux also presented their various actions and tools in this field with many examples in French stations and other international cities.

Regarding commercial operations in the metro, RATP Travel Retail representatives presented their activities and drew a global image about their objectives and challenges. They talked about the constraints they may face with commerce development in the metro station, and how they developed new partnerships and contracts with new brands, services and by supporting shopkeepers in their set up.

The central idea is to make the spaces of the station profitable while offering qualitative and diversified services for the passenger.

In the field, the participants observed the commercial developments at the Gare de Lyon, the Saint-Lazare station and Marseille Saint-Charles Central station, each time with different spatial configurations, features, and strategies chosen in each area by the owner.

This second topic will be subject to a forthcoming workshop in Cairo, where the Egyptian authorities will have the opportunity to focus further on the specific commercial issues in Cairo and Alexandria stations.

Besides these two topics of intermodality and commercial operations, the study tour permit to notice the importance of the role of an organizing authority such as IDF Mobilité, the distinctive functioning of La Société du Grand Paris, the various original presentations of the Grand Paris Express in La Fabrique du Metro, the bike-sharing system, or the urban requalification project in Marseille.

The convergence of all these themes and the different visits made during the four-day tour have highlighted the need to continually reflect on the quality of the services and focus the approach on the passenger experience.