The Principality’s trial of a free bus service is due to end this Sunday, but despite a month-long survey of passenger opinion, the government’s findings are not convincing, leading the National Council to call for an extension of the scheme into spring 2023.
In the last few days, employees from the Alyce Research Office have been on the ground asking passengers questions on the trial period and evaluating the impact of free travel on usage.
The goal is to determine if the measure is doing what was hoped, namely changing travel habits to lessen overall road traffic, reduce CO2 emissions and increase quality of life for commuters, visitors and residents.
Initial feedback from 16th November was not terribly convincing. Céline Caron-Dagioni, Minister of Public Works, the Environment and Urban Planning, said of the free test, “The first indicators show us there is no reduction in road traffic. But the test is still in progress and we should not draw too hasty conclusions. For the moment, we tend to see a modal shift of the opportunistic pedestrian who enters the bus sometimes just for a stop. We have to cross-reference this data with the entrances and exits of car parks, which we do not yet have at this stage.”
As it stands, the free service will come to an end on Sunday 27th November, but the National Council is keen to extend the trial until spring 2023, which members say would allow more time to analyse any changes to habits.
In a press release, the Council made clear its position: “This would provide the necessary hindsight to analyse the evolution of behaviour in a more relevant way, while leaving more time for residents to change their habits in the long term, by favouring softer mobility for all their travels in the city.”
When questioned recently on the extension request, Minister of State Pierre Dartout said that the government “has no position and has not yet made a decision.”
Photo source: Monaco Communications Department