Bus 601a
As political tensions heat up in France – the president will be decided this weekend –
People & Power examines its social problems.

Whoever wins on Sunday will have to confront problems of youth unemployment and growing social unrest in France's suburban housing estates.

Back in November 2005, the northern suburbs were alight with race riots.

Young people of African and North African descent rioted because they had no jobs and could see no prospects for themselves.

The young émigrés feel that the French system keeps them out, and no symbol is more telling than the Bus 601a, travelling from the capital out to Clichy in Paris.

It takes the workers out from the affluent places in which they work, to their own homes – far removed from the luxurious city centre.


As it swings out of Avenue de la Resistance, with its shops selling the pleasant things in life - cheese, patisseries, flowers, books - it is as if the passengers are being given a tour of what they can't have.

This is a bus route that crosses France's social divide and its simmering tensions.

Shereen El Feki takes the trip, and meets some of the passengers who take it every day.


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This episode of People & Power aired from 02 May 2007



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