An RTM bus on the streets of Marseille, Source: Depositphotos

Marseille public transit controllers will offer subscription instead of a fine

Marseille public transit controllers will offer subscription instead of a fine

Educate, raise awareness, encourage rather than punish

Public transit controllers are there for a reason. To fine and sanction anyone caught travelling without a ticket and abusing the public service, also known as ‘free riders’. But wait, how about a different approach? What if instead of admonishing and punishing the offender they offered them a chance to redeem themselves and do right? That’s what the Marseille public transport operator RTM decided to try out with a new policy.

When the RTM inspectors working on the city’s metro, buses and trams catch a free rider rather than issuing a fine on the spot, they will offer that passenger the option of buying one of the operator’s subscription passes (Permanent Pass XL, Métropole or Intégral) so they can carry on with their life as a responsible citizen.

Educational fine

RTM calls this approach “issuing an educational fine”. On the RTM network, 100,000 fines are issued each year against ticket evaders. 8% of the fines are paid to the RTM and the rest, passing three months, are processed by the tax service. 

“Free-riding costs 25 million euros per year,” Khalil Feldjaoui, member of the CJM mobility commission, told Made in Marseille a few months ago. “This is the equivalent of 80 fewer buses on the Metropolis network. We could finance many projects of general interest with this money.”

According to him the various repressive policies used until now have not shown their effectiveness. Education seems more relevant today as an approach.

This experiment on the RTM network will last 8 months, from November 2024 until July 2025. To avoid any misuse of the educational fine system, it will be implemented outside subscription renewal periods - that is outside the months of August, September, October and January.



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