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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #280 - Free transport: A reality in some cities (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 24 Feb 2018 10:36:30 +0200

Some cities like Dunkerque, Niort or Tallinn (Estonia) have released their public transport. This new use allows everyone to move without discrimination, favoring social bonds, the urban environment and city centers. ---- For nearly 40 years, many collectives have succeeded in France to claim the free use of public transport. Today it is more than 22 municipalities or communities of agglomerations that experiment or have implemented free measures including Dunkerque, Chateauroux, Niort for larger, but also Colomiers (Haute-Garonne), Compiegne (Oise) , Vitré (Ille-et-Vilaine), Issoudun (Indre), Mayenne (Mayenne), Gap (Hautes-Alpes), Bar-le-Duc (Meuse), Castres (Tarn), Cluses (Haute-Savoie), Libourne ( Gironde), etc. ---- Free transport can be seen as a tool for social equity, the postponement of individual car traffic and the stimulation of public transport but also as a tool to help economic dynamism. In a global way, the number of users has increased, social mix has improved significantly, allowing everyone to have access to public transport without discrimination.

In Dunkirk, a double public was observed in the free transport of the weekend: families avoiding the constraint of parking and precarious people who would not have taken transport without this measure [1].

However it is not free for everyone. The cost of public transport is partly financed by local taxes, and partly by companies via a tax calculated in relation to the wage bill. In Tallinn, Estonia, free admission was introduced in 2013. The operation is profitable in this European capital, where the financing of urban transport is provided by the municipal tax. Based on this first experience, free transport is envisaged for the entire territory.

Promising examples
In Châteauroux and Niort, attendance was doubled. The city centers saw a revival of economic activity thanks to this new attendance. The typology of used.es also shows that they are motorists but also pedestrians and cyclists. Since 2015, the urban community of Dunkirk has been experimenting with free transport on weekends. The result is an increase in public service attendance of 30% on Saturdays and 80% on Sundays. Following this experiment, agglomeration plans to extend free weekday from 1 st September 2018 [2], which is a first in France for a city of over 200 000 inhabitants.

For the moment, the agglomerations that have opted for the free use of public transport have a network consisting mainly of bus lines and shuttles. Trials have not been put in place in cities with tram and metro lines. This lack of study should not curb the groups of activists in their demands for free transport in cities of large sizes !

When will the free use of public transport for big cities ?

Julien I. (AL Lyon)

[1] Charlotte Belaich, " Free public transport: an effective model ? Liberation, September 6, 2017.

[2] According to the France 3 television news of November 20, 2017

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