If you live in Montpellier, set your clock for 21 December, when free public transit will blast in, Source: Transports Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole

Montpellier will be France’s largest metropolis with free public transport

Montpellier will be France’s largest metropolis with free public transport

The implementation of this will come as a much-welcomed Christmas gift to the residents in December

At the start of this month, the Metropolitan Council of Montpellier took the decision to introduce free public transport across the metropolis for residents starting on 21 December. This pre-Christmas gift to locals will turn the metropolitan area of the southern city into the largest of its kind in France to offer free public transit.

The measure was described by the officials as a solution “capable of winning the race against time now engaged to fight against climate change”. The step is seen as a necessary one to take if cleaning up the air is meant as a serious item on the policy agenda.

Montpellier has therefore chosen to reduce the protagonist role of the car overall. To do this, one of the first levers mobilized is to make public transport more attractive for each inhabitant of the Metropolis, so that it becomes a true rival to the private car.

A fusion between social and environmental care

Montpellier has been preparing to take this step for some time now. In 2020, the authorities initiated free public transport on weekends and accentuated the system in 2021 with free admission for those under 18 and those over 65.

These initial measures were considered to have been a success enjoying wide popularity as two out of every three people eligible for the free passes registered for them. And teenagers were twice as likely to use public transit after that.

The new measure goes beyond helping out the socially-marginalized or disadvantaged groups and aims to show that taking the bus or tram would result in significant savings for anyone who chooses that option. For example, a family of four with two grown-up children above 18 (still living at home) would stand to save 826 euros per year.

Montpellier residents can sign up for a free transport pass on the M’Ticket app. A photo ID and proof of address are required. The pass will then be available on one’s smartphone and must be validated each time you board the bus and tram.

Experiments with introducing partial or full free public transport in French cities have been going on since 2015, picking up speed more in later years. Once the Montpellier scheme becomes a reality, however, it will make the metropolis the largest in size offering such benefit in the country.



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