Parisians, stop being rude, please!
PARIS, July 31 — Parisians have a reputation for being rude, occupying along with their countrymen top positions in surveys such as the one carried out by Skyscanner earlier this year, where the French took first place in the world’s rudest nations ranking.
Now, at the height of the summertime tourism season, the French capital and its residents’ rude manners have taken the media spotlight due to an anti-rudeness campaign carried out by the company in charge of the city’s public transport and reported on by the AP this past week.
Thanks to its cultural, architectural and culinary heritage, an estimated 28.9 million tourists from all over the world visited Paris in 2011, and this year, a large percentage of the City of Light’s annual tourist numbers are visiting this month.
The city has an efficient low-cost public transport network that can help visitors maximise the number of sights they see during their stay but this system is also the site of reports of uncivil behaviour — experienced not only by tourists but also locals.
A survey carried out earlier this summer by the company that runs the transport system, the RATP, found that 97 per cent of passengers had witnessed “uncivil” behaviour.
The survey gave examples of the most annoying behaviour among commuters such as loud mobile phone chatter, pushing without apologising, getting on the subway without letting people get out first, throwing garbage onto the platforms or in the cars and smoking on the platforms.
The campaign features large posters displayed in metro stations in the city and the suburbs. The posters include six images that depict wayward Paris transport users as animals amidst human onlookers. One image shows a hen yelling into a mobile phone on a bus and a donkey spitting chewing gum onto the train platform.
The campaign, covered in many British and American media outlets, has generated reactions ranging from “Love Paris but Parisians put me off!” to “London could use a similar campaign” from two users on the Daily Mail website.
The RATP has also created a website for miffed travellers to write captions for images of uncivil behaviour. — AFP-Relaxnews