RATP Launches 'Clean' Buses

photo: bistro paris madere
All flags flying, the 'Paris Madère' bistro is not far
from the boulevard Haussmann.

Winter-Sports News Is Last

Paris:- Sunday, 27. December 1998:- Elsewhere in this issue I have given a huge plug for Paris' buses. More than a few readers swear by them, as being the most agreeable way of travelling around the city.

In the past, this comfort has been reserved mainly for passengers. The buses have diesel motors, and the speeds they run at, or idle at in traffic jams, have made them the cause of an extra amount of air pollution.

With the aid of Elf engineers, the RATP is trying out a new fuel, which is called 'aquazole,' a mixture of water and diesel. All 125 buses at the rue des Pyrénées depot have been equipped to run on the new fuel on an experimental basis.

Noxious emissions are less, but the new fuel costs more; something like an extra seven to 8,000 francs per bus per year. All the same, The RATP expects 80 percent of its 4,000 buses to be using the watered diesel within three years.

This is not the transport authority's only card. Currently, 57 buses are running on liquid GPL. Another 53 on runphoto: snack stand on haussmann on natural gas, or GNV; mostly in suburban communities. GNV is appreciated for its smooth motor operation, which reduces the ping-pong effect for passengers.

If you've skipped the bistro above, here's a snack chance right on Haussmann.

Most local public transport buses are relatively new. With their smooth automatic transmissions, their remarkable suspensions and their passenger-friendly interiors, they give a good ride and their big windows give a good view for the money.

Within Paris, the old 'section' tariffs have been eliminated, so one ticket is good for the entire length of a route, and some of these are pretty long. If you are bus-crazy, get a two-zone 'Mobilus' card for 30 francs and ride all day, on all lines.

The Weather and What To Do About It

It is windy times in Paris these days. On looking back I see it was windy last year around this time too. Before it is over, it will knock a lot of stuff over out in the country and some ships at sea will be in trouble.

Many writers want to know about the weather in Paris. The city is neither in the south, nor is it in Europe's true north. Without being 'in the south,' the true north begins just north of Paris, about where the Charles-de-Gaulle airport is.

The result is, Paris is prepared for southern weather which it doesn't quite get, and unprepared for northern weather, which turns up occasionally.

Somewhere out west, there is a weather-rudder in the Atlantic. If it works correctly, it makes warm air from the Azores turn right, into Europe. If Paris is lucky, it gets this mild flow.

This rudder is controlled by nearer, horrible nasty weather that comes from somewhere around the North Pole, but the French say Greenland. If this is weak enough, it is enough to block the flow from the Azores and turn it eastwards.

If it is stronger, like in winter, it keeps the mild air from the Azores away, and flows all over northern Europe. If it is really strong it can push all the way to the Côte d'Azur.

But sometimes, all of this gets upset by a high pressure zone stuck out in the Atlantic, which has the effect of drawing truly horrible weather all the way from Russia. In winter this can make the Paris part of Europe seem like Siberia. Luckily, this doesn't happen often.

Last January, winds of 190 kph battered the French coasts. There was a heatwave in February, with 24 degrees recorded at Carcassonne. Thereafter, normality was followed by another heatwave in June.

The record for days without sun was broken in northern France in July. August had a five-day heatwave and was followed by a lot of rain in September, with twice as much as normal falling in October.

In November the cold showed up and about 60 places in France noted new record lows. Deceber began cold, then got mild, and now is normal. For winter, it is not cold, but it is grey and damp.

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