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The National Council has been toying with the idea of free local bus service for months and has finally settled on a two week trial period in September to see how it would work.
The plan was initially proposed to encourage tourists and residents to take advantage of public transport as a method of reducing both air pollution and traffic congestion, particularly during the busy morning and evening rush hour periods.
Debates by the National Council were held last year to discuss Monaco’s 2020 budget. During these meetings, the council, in conjunction with the Compagnie des Autobus de Monaco (CAM), suggested that a test be carried out to monitor the impact and the popularity of free transit but was stuck on whether it should be gratis for all users or for residents only. Initially, the test was planned for only one line, Line #4, and was meant to last six months.
After further deliberation, the National Council and the Ministry of State both concluded this test would not be a true reflection of the population or of usage as it was limited in scale. It would also be difficult to assess the true results as all the lines are interconnected, therefore singling out a single line would probably not be effective.
As a result, the council suggested a network-wide trial, carried out from the 12th to the 27th of September during European Mobility Week. In order to streamline the system and optimise journey times, electronic meters are being proposed, which would track customers as they came on and off the buses without any interference by the drivers.
A massive awareness campaign is being suggested to remind people about the free test period during the entire two weeks, as well as the weeks leading up to it.
Officials state the cost of such trials would be nominal, as the duration is short. If free bus service is adopted, the National Council is suggesting that infrastructure be updated to accommodate heavier bus use. New bus lanes, priority traffic lights and increased services are amongst the things being recommended.
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