Common Courtesy – RATP

Besides getting you from place to place, the thing public transportation is really great for is people watching. I get extra joy in observing tourists, but locals can be pretty fun to watch too. The latest campaign ‘Restons Civils‘ from the RATP, the public transportation operator for Paris, takes a fun and entertaining look at some serious issues that face the system. With over 10 million riders each day, even some of the more unpleasant occurrences – loud cell phone talkers, those with lack of hygiene, last minute pushers, gum spitters, and turnstyle jumpers – can even get to the most seasoned public transportation traveler. While the issues are real and serious, I love the way that they’ve decided to use animals as a way to add humor and poignancy to bring attention to the issue, while also using the numbers from the bus and metro lines, to graphically further make their point. It definitely makes you look – and hopefully laugh too.

P.S. The RATP has one of the best apps for getting around Paris.

{Reston civils publicity via RATP}


  • For some reason, these ads remind me of the opposite experience I had riding the metro years ago in Paris. I was in deep denial about having the flu, and while I was on a super crowded train holding onto the pole to combat dizziness, this woman gave up her seat for me. That’s why I’d still want to live in Paris. Yes, there are rude people, but not everyone is like that.

  • I personally love this campaign, and I know for me it has been like a kind of game for me to figure out exactly what is on each poster (my French is not horrible, but certainly not terrific). I also liked “collecting” them, trying to spot each one at the various Métro stops.

    A little note about this: “those with lack of hygiene…”

    Okay, I totally thought that was what that second poster was about, too, until I got my more-fluent husband’s input into exactly what the French on the poster was saying. First, he correctly identified the animal as a sloth (not a skunk, like I first thought. I totally know where you were going with it!). So laziness is what is being addressed here. He told me it means, roughly, “Laziness at peak hours risks 2 or 3 complaints.”

    You know those folks who refuse to stand up from the folding chairs next to the entrance to the car, even when the area is completely packed? The sprawl themselves all over the place and make it difficult to stand? That’s the target with this one. Although, like I wrote, with his pits in the air, looking skunk-like, concerns about hygiene was what I first thought as well. :)

    Thanks for finding these pics! I was keeping an eye out for them on the RATP site — I guess they are there now? (Oh they are. I just clicked on the link you put in. Thanks.)

  • You’re so right, Karen! I was struggling with the “skunk” (he had to big a head!), but sloth makes sense. I like with the arms up it has double meaning ;)

    Lynn, thanks for the link!

    Lindsey, it appears they had some events to get the discussion going, and there’s even a questionnaire online: However, the biggest point is that we’re talking about the ads, and they’re memorable. If I’m talking loud on the phone I’ll think to myself, “I don’t want to be that chicken.” ;)


  • I just got back from Paris yesterday and saw some of these around but definitely not the one with the guy’s arms up. I would have remembered that!

    There’s also have a campaign on the sides of garbage trucks with a photo of a glass of beer that says something like ” A glass of beer is 3e’
    and the shot next to it is pee on a pretty wall saying “the fine for peeing is 40e’.

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