This measure, which at first glance would seem to be good news for Monegasques, residents, employees and tourists in the Principality, is posing a few problems, particularly in terms of passenger numbers.
Since 3 October and originally until 27 November, now extended to 2 January, the Principality’s buses are free of charge (the seven daytime routes, the two night-time routes and the port taxi shuttle). The government’s stated objective is to have people discover or rediscover this mode of transport so that it becomes more widely used and, ultimately, helps reduce road traffic and greenhouse gas emissions.
While most of our readers see this as a good measure, others are more sceptical, like Aurore: “Good idea. But there are too many people for the number of buses, especially at peak times, when the schools get out. The Boulevard des Moulins is a nightmare. I’m disabled, it’s impossible to sit down with all the kids and it’s a real hassle to get off!”
Sylvain also regrets the boom in numbers since bus travel became free: “There are too many people at certain times and for the elderly it’s an issue, few people (young people in particular) give up their seats,” he says.
SEE ALSO: Free bus test: CAM polls users
What impact on traffic?
Although we will have to wait until the end of the scheme to measure its impact on traffic, some users have already told us that they have given up driving and take the bus instead, like this reader: “I haven’t used my scooter since the service became free, I hope it continues”. Others have not noticed a massive difference for the time being. “No change except that there are more passengers, and not fewer cars or scooters, just fewer pedestrians.
“We get the impression that it has dragged pedestrians onto the buses,” says Gregory, while Laurent, like many others, hopes that the free service will last: “It’s a great measure and I hope that the test will be successful and will carry on,” he says.
Unfortunately, the operation has a price – €695,000 for two months, communication campaign included – and is not intended to continue. The aim is to kick start a change in people’s habits.