Eiffel Tower new ticketing forces staff strike

The new ticketing system at the Eiffel Tower has pushed staff to plan a strike as it has been causing “monstrous” waiting times at the Paris landmark.

The entry system has been in place since early July, in which half of daily tickets are set aside for those who book in advance online and schedule a specific visiting time.

Prior to the system changes, only 20 per cent of ticket could be booked ahead of time.

In addition, the landmark’s management has made the move to reserve specific elevators for each type of ticket holder. This reportedly “creates lines that are at times monstrous and often lopsided,” the CGT union said in a statement.

In other words, in off-peak times for pre-booked tickets the reserved lifts are often half empty, while walk-ins have to wait in lines up to three hours long.

High demand at the pre-booked elevator can also cause backups that mean many people who booked in advance with a specific time end up waiting long beyond their scheduled visit.

“Beyond the waste in terms of efficiency, and the unhappy visitors… employees’ patience has run out,” said the CGT’s Denis Vavassori, according to the Telegraph.

He added that management has refused to budge on the issue, despite complaints.

“We’re not talking about a failure… there’s just an adjustment that needs to be made,” Vavassori said.

The Eiffel Tower welcomed more than six million visitors last year, but has been hit by repeated strikes by its 300-strong staff in recent years over issues ranging from pick-pocketing to maintenance work.

VivaTicket recently announced it had won a 10-year contract for servicing the ticketing activities of the Eiffel Tower during a significant period of growth.

Best Union and its Enta Australasia subsidiary recently came together and rebranded as VivaTicket, and also signed another ticketing agreement with football giants Barcelona.

Commenting on the ticketing contract with the Eiffel Tower, VivaTicket chairman Luca Montebugnoli said: “(This) is an important step towards the definitive leadership in cultural market in France.”

Image: lin padgham