Eiffel Tower strike ends after deal to tackle long waits

Photo: AFP

The Eiffel Tower plans to test a new access policy for visitors after management reached a deal to end a strike by workers complaining of “monstrous” waits at the Paris landmark.

The monument reopened Friday after workers walked off the job Wednesday to protest at a new access policy that allocates separate lifts to visitors with pre-booked tickets and those who buy them on site.

The tower now sets aside half of daily tickets for internet customers, who must choose specific time slots for their visit, up from just 20 percent previously.

Labour unions said the changes, implemented in early July, could lead to lopsided queues that could extend to three hours for those waiting to pay for tickets, and up to an hour for e-ticket holders.

The tower’s operator had countered that lines were no worse than before for the more than six million people who visit each year.

But on Thursday it said that starting next week it would test a new policy allowing all visitors to queue in separate lines at either of the two elevators.

The goal is to keep both elevators full no matter the proportion of regular tickets to e-tickets.

“Making sure the reserved time slot is respected will be the main criteria for evaluating the system being tested,” tower operator SETE said.

It also said it would increase further the percentage of daily tickets sold in advance, “the only measure available to reduce waits at the base of the tower”.

The reopening was a relief to visitors after thousands were turned away during the strike.

“It’s definitely great that we can just walk in and there’s no problem at all, that’s nice,” said Patricia Joremsen, who lives in Copenhagen.

“Of course we’re happy it’s open, we came especially to see it,” said Darek, visiting from Poland.

The tower’s roughly 340 employees have staged strikes repeatedly in recent years over issues including pickpocketing and maintenance work.

 
 
 
 
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