The transport system in Paris will not be ready in time for the 2024 Olympic Games in the French capital, its mayor said, sparking anger Thursday from political opponents.
With less than a year before the event kicks off, the transport infrastructure in Paris is already under huge pressure, with commuters and tourists alike complaining of poor frequency, overcrowding and uncleanliness.
Speaking on the Quotidien talk show on TMC TV, Hidalgo said that while the Games infrastructure will be ready "there are two things for which we will not be ready" namely transport and also the problem of homelessness.
On transport, "we still have problems in daily transport issues and we are still not reaching the comfort and punctuality needed for Parisians."
"There are places where the transport will not be ready and there will not be enough trains."
Political opponents lashed out at the Socialist mayor, who has been under pressure this month after it emerged she extended a low-key official trip to a French Pacific territory in October with a two-week private visit in the holiday paradise.
Critics have dubbed the controversy as "Tahitigate" and accused the mayor of seeking to disguise her absence by posting archive images on social media channels of her in Paris, including a video of her cycling along the Seine. Hidalgo has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
Transport Minister Clement Beaune, a close ally of centrist President Emmanuel Macron, accused Hidalgo of not being present at committee meetings aimed at discussing transport infrastructure.
"Mrs Hidalgo is not there, does not participate in work meetings but has an opinion for others. What respect she has for our public officials and for Parisians!," he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
"We will be ready," wrote Valerie Pecresse, the head of the Ile-de-France region that includes Paris, thanking transport staff for their efforts. "It is an immense collective work which should not be tarnished by an absent mayor," she added.
On the situation of the homeless, Hidalgo said she wanted to use the Olympics as a chance to find a long-term solution to the issue of people sleeping on streets and inside metro stations in Paris.
"Everyone agrees on the need to make progress. We must make progress but we are not quite there," she said.