Driving to Monaco by car: good or bad idea? Our readers’ views

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A slip road is under construction in Beausoleil to ease traffic flow - © Vinci Autoroutes

More than 60 internet users answered our invitation to share their experiences.

A few days ago, the town of Cap d’Ail voted against the Moyenne Corniche underpass project, which is intended to ease traffic between the French Riviera and Monaco.

Every day, Principality employees and tourists alike are caught up in traffic jams, and many have opted for other means of transport, such as the train or bus.

We asked our readers to share their experiences and opinions on the issue. And the verdict is clear-cut: more and more users are leaving their cars in the garage, like Gabriel. “I tried everything. First carpooling, then the train and in the end I went for a two-wheeler …. I can finally get to the office on time on a regular basis,” he says. Laurent also believes mopeds are the best option. “Or train + rollerblades! It’s all about efficiency,” he adds.

“We almost always go to Monaco by moped. Too many traffic problems, both on the Grande and Moyenne Corniches, at the dual carriageway. In the summer at certain times of the day it’s just unbearable,” says one reader. “I travel to the Principality every day for work. From 6.30 am on it’s a nightmare when you come out of the A500 tunnel. There must be a way to adjust the traffic light in Cap d’Ail to free up traffic on the way down to Monaco,” says another.

Some users therefore think it would be wrong to abandon the underpass project. “I think it’s a shame that the Cap d’Ail municipality is thinking like this, because it is regularly gridlocked, both on the Basse and Moyenne Corniches .(…) Slower traffic means more pollution and noise,” says one internet user. Georges asks: “What other ideas is Cap d’Ail suggesting to solve the daily traffic jams?”

Gilles is annoyed:  Isn’t it possible to completely rethink the Cap d’Ail crossroads on the Moyenne Corniche, which totally paralyses access to Monaco? A traffic light to let 3 cars through to or from the Basse Corniche compared to hundreds of cars going in both directions on the Moyenne Corniche! It’s ridiculous! This junction has been screwing things up for years, all the way to the motorway tunnel.”

Is public transport a solution?

For other readers, the solution has to be public transport. “It’s impossible to park [if you come by car]. The best thing is to come by train and leave the car in Nice or Villefranche or along the way, but even Roquebrune and Menton are full because people arrive from up at the motorway and from Italy,” says Alban.

However, for some, the rail service is not fit for purpose. “If there was a tram between Nice and Menton, leaving every 5 minutes, you would solve the problem. A type of train that would stop at all the stations, these exist for goodness sake. We have the tracks. We have the TER [regional trains – Ed.]. So why have we not been able to have a TER every five minutes for the last 20 years?” asks “Titi”.

He also says: “the issue is not about coming by car or not, it’s how to get to work in Monaco without a two or four-wheeled vehicle. The trains in our region can’t meet the demand. The network is run down and there are not enough trains, and there is only a sufficient number of buses on the Basse Corniche, leaving the Moyenne and Grande Corniches without even a few trains. Timetables have been put together (very badly) for office hours, but there is no service at other times. The same applies for people who work on bank holidays or at the weekend. So the question is not really is it a good or bad idea, it’s that there’s often just no other option, don’t you think?”

So while the SNCF is struggling to win people over, our readers have other ideas. “Create car parks at the port and have an electric boat with a flat fare from Nice or Menton and even Ventimiglia,” suggests Claudine, who is not the only reader to bring the idea of the sea shuttle – which has often been announced then cancelled – back up again. Similarly, Jean-Pierre believes there should be a metro line between Nice and Ventimiglia. Here again, the issue has already been raised by the Monegasque and French authorities, so far without any results.

And some readers feel that motorists should also act responsibility. Jeannine, for example, says “if more residents took  their children to school by bus, there would be fewer cars in Monaco.”

Antonio goes even further and thinks that users who do not carpool should be penalised: “there should be more Nice/Monaco trains and above all [people who come] in [their] car on their own should be charged. It shouldn’t be allowed! More trains, more buses, more carpooling.”

As a reminder, the underpass project has not been cancelled. The mayor of Cap d’Ail, Xavier Beck, does have other ideas, and sent a list of suggestions to the Minister of State, Pierre Dartout. The Beausoleil sliproad, scheduled for June, should also ease traffic considerably.