Mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced that, starting this September, all public transit in the city will be free for people under 11, including non-Parisians.
It wil be definitely cheaper to head back to school this fall for Parisian preteens who use public transit as the city has announced that they will not have to pay. Also, all people with disabilities will get free public transit until the age of 20, while high school students between the ages of 14 and 18 will be entitled to a 50 percent tariff reduction.
To make transit access for this group even easier, any 14- to 18-year-olds who buy a travel pass will also get a free bikeshare account as well. This is one small step in the Mayor’s plan to hopefully make public transit free to everyone, according to The Local.
The project, encompassing the Greater Paris region, will cost an estimated €15 million a year. Already last spring, the region introduced a (means-tested) scheme by which adults with disabilities and all people over 65 got a free annual travel pass if they were on a low-to-medium income. This new plan to extend cheap or no fares toward younger people should make the public transit system more widely accessible and will be a most welcome financial break for struggling families.
Furthermore, with more families leaving their cars at home to take advantage of the low- or no-fare policies for their children, it would reduce pollution and congestion on the French capital's roads. The plans should help to consolidate public opinion behind the city’s long battle to gradually reduce the urban space granted to cars.
Indeed, according to CityLab, Paris streets are slowly being “pedestrianized” by reducing the number of car lanes and banning certain cars from the road. Those who strongly oppose these measures have criticized the changes by claiming that they are intended for the benefit of wealthier people in the city core at the expense of suburbanites, who often have lower incomes and need cars to make their commutes feasible. Cheaper or even free public transit would be definitely be an answer to those critics.