“Free public transport is a response to social and ecological emergencies.”

Faced with social and ecological emergencies where old relationships with mobility no longer respond, we cannot remain deaf or helpless. Gasoline prices are currently over € 2 and will have a significant impact on the purchasing power of the family. Beyond that, geopolitics of the world reminds us that our dependence on oil weakens France’s sovereignty. Reality catches up with us: it’s heavy.

We need to show courage and boldness. Free public transport is one of the solutions as it is a powerful measure of social and ecological justice. It’s a great opportunity for the community to coordinate environmental requirements and purchasing power issues.

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Daniel Salenave and “Utopia Reconstructing from Bottom Left to Left”

Choosing free public transport means giving everyone the opportunity to participate in ecosystem transitions, while strengthening purchasing power and encouraging them to travel differently. It saves hundreds of euros a year, so it’s a concrete measure that really changes people’s lives. The mobility policies implemented to protect our planet are subject to major changes in habits. We cannot claim sacrifices without changing the supply of public transport ourselves.

Build a city where the air is breathable

Choosing free public transport means making our environmental policy a reality. This is an opportunity for civil servants to develop a new vision of city travel by providing a simple alternative to traveling by car, which can improve the quality of life and well-being of the city. I can do it. This will enable the construction of air-breathable cities that improve the health of the population by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Choosing free public transport means meeting the demands of the younger generation, who expect courageous choices, regardless of their sensitivity. Our responsibility is to do everything to provide them with a perspective, free them from their dependence on carbon energy and give them choices. In this way, we give them a message of direction, hope and self-confidence for the future. Providing free public transport is also a way to enhance equality, as it does not impose agility on the level of driver’s license and financing, or wealth.

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Free public transport is part of the story of the victorious progress of our society. Faced with illiteracy in the 19th century, the Republicans chose free public schools. They responded to the poverty and fragility of the 20th century with the universality of social security to protect them. In times of expensive oil, segregation of neighborhoods and climate crisis, the era of mobility is forced to make another choice to meet the challenges of this century.

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Imposing the power of new change

Some criticize that nothing is free. However, road use is covered by taxes. That is, people who use the road and those who do not use it. Establishing free transportation is obviously costly to the community. But politics comes down to making choices and assuming them. More than ever, we need to impose new forces of change.

We have already implemented or experimented with free admission in many areas such as Aubagne, Dunkirk and Montpellier, or elsewhere in the world such as Tallinn. Montpellier, a metropolis with a population of 500,000, introduced a free weekend six weeks after the election, and then offered a free weekend for people under the age of 18 and over the age of 65. From the end of 2023, free access will be available to all residents of Metropolis. This is the flagship promise of the 2020 local election campaign, the only ballot on our list, and will be a reality in the medium term.

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In addition, free access needs to be closely tied to aggressive policies to improve the quality of public transport. At Montpellier, a large investment plan will enable a new high-level service bus network, a fifth tram line, an extension of the first tram line, and the creation of a transport police force to ensure security. This complements other key measures for active mobility, with a € 150 million investment plan to create new safe bike paths, help buy electric bikes, or increase pedestrians. Will be.

“In France, degrowth is the target of a true intellectual strike.”

The region has the opportunity to lead environmental and social strategies by investing in public transport. Free public transport should be an exciting idea. It is one of the solutions to the crisis we are experiencing. This is a response to those who abandon the logic of progress or promote demobilization. It is the modernity and honor of the left to know how to reconcile the response to living expenses with the response to the climate crisis by facilitating the movement of all, regardless of income. On the left side, we continue to be guided by the idea of ​​progress and justice while acting for an ecological transition.

Michael de la Fosse, Organic Express

Michael de la Fosse Mayor of Montpellier (PS), President of Montpellier Mediterranee Metropole.