Paris may provide free public transport if a motion by Mayor Anne Hildago overcomes the opposition. A feasibility study is to see whether such a measure would motivate more people to take the Métro. Paris transport authority IDFM, rejected the proposal despite other examples from Europe.
The authority is against the idea of Hidalgo to make Paris public transport free to use, saying if travellers did not pay, taxpayers would have to do so. Furthermore, IDFM says it need to upgrade the system of the French capital and needs the income from the fares in order to do so.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo however builds the idea on other examples. Germany had discussed the idea to let people board trains and buses free of charge in an effort to curb air pollution. However, the semi-official proposal was also met with opposition. They built the argument both on price and also doubted the effect, calling for measures like a diesel-ban at the same time.
In Paris however, more drastic measures are planned anyway. The city is part of the C40 initiative of cities fighting climate change and pledged to say “adieu” to combustion-powered cars by 2030. Diesel engine cars are likely to be banned even earlier, before the start of the Olympic Games in 2024 (we reported).
At the same time, a majority of Parisians are using public transport already. Reuters quotes a 2015 study by Eurostat, that saw more than 60 percent of people using the metro, buses and train system in Paris. At the same time, a little over 25 percent of people said they use their car to commute.
Maybe a compromise is the way forward and has in fact been proposed by Brussels recently. The Belgian capital has passed a law which will make public transport and the bike sharing programme free only on days with alarmingly high levels of air pollution. The law will also cut speed limits and allows for temporary ICE bans.