Paris gives ultimatum on e-scooter ‘misuse’

Paris has given operators of electric scooter fleets one month to come up with measures to limit reckless riding, pell-mell parking and other "misuses" or risk a loss of their licences, city hall has announced - the latest move in a long-running battle between the city and e-scooters.

Paris gives ultimatum on e-scooter 'misuse'
Photo by AFP

Like many major cities, Paris is grappling with how to enforce safe practices for the electric scooters (known in French as trottinettes), promoted as a non-polluting alternative to cars or crowded public transport.

Critics say they are just as often used for joy rides that menace pedestrians, pointing to regular accidents and casting doubt on the environmental bona fides of batteries with short lifespans.

“All options are on the table, including an end of contracts” that expire next February, deputy mayor David Belliard said after a meeting with the three firms authorised to operate in the French capital.

Given the exasperation over “misuses,” city officials are questioning the “cost-benefit analysis” as well as the environmental cost of the roughly 15,000 e-scooters currently on the streets, he said.

Dozens of operators flooded the streets with free-floating rental fleets in 2018, leading to chaotic scenes of overturned or misparked scooters littering sidewalks.

That led the city to allow just three operators — Tier, Lime and Dott — and limit speeds to 20 km/h or even 10 km/h in dense zones, while setting up dedicated parking spots.

But some youths find it hard to resist doubling up on the devices — in theory a no-no — and scooters are often left on sidewalks or even found in the Seine River.

E-scooters and other “personal electric transportation vehicles” caused 236 accidents in Paris during the first half of this year, a jump of 52 percent from the period last year, according to police data.

In France overall, 24 people died while using one last year.

“We’re very confident in our ability to respond” to the city’s demands, a spokeswoman for Tier told AFP.

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Paris public transport ticket prices set to rise in 2023

Public transport users in the Paris region may be facing higher prices for tickets and travel passes in the new year, as the region's transport network attempts to meet €950 million in additional costs for 2023.

Paris public transport ticket prices set to rise in 2023

Grappling with rising costs, local authorities for the Paris region are considering raising the price of tickets and the monthly Navigo pass for the capital’s public transport system.

These new fares would come into effect on January 1st, 2023 – although local authorities still have to approve the price rises, which will be put to the vote on December 7th, and the government may yet step in to shield commuters from the sharpest increases. 

According to information leaked to French media, the cost of a single ticket – currently set at €1.90 – could go up by 21 percent – reaching €2.30 in the new year. Paris runs an integrated public transport system which means that tickets can be used on the Metro, tram, bus or RER train services. 

Fans of the 10-ticket carnet could see prices go up to €20.30, a rise from €16.90 for paper ticket purchasers and from €14.90 for mobile phone app and Navigo easy users.

As for the Navigo pass – the monthly rail card – which will be the focus of daily transport users in the Ile-de-France, the region’s President Valérie Pécresse warned that it could jump from the current €75.20 per month to €90. 

Other travel passes are also predicted to see a rise – the weekly Navigo semaine from €22.80 to €31, and the Navigo annual from €827.20 to €990.

READ MORE: Food, fuel and transport: Which prices will rise in France in 2023?

The transport system is considering price rises because it faces €950 million in additional costs for 2023, as a result of energy rates rising and the fact that the transport system will begin owing payments to the French government on their “Covid loans” in the year 2023. 

While the increase in single ride fares to €2.30 could bring in an additional €500 million, the region’s transport operators would still be short by €450 million.

Possible outcomes

In order to avoid sharp increases to fares for passengers, there are three possible solutions that have been put forward by President of the Region, Valérie Pecresse. 

The first option would be a sort of fare shield. This would keep the price of a Navigo pass at €75.20 by relying on the State for various aids, such as transforming the region’s “Covid loans” of €2 billion into a subsidy, spreading out repayments between 2023 and 2036, and lowering the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 10 percent to 5.5 percent, which would bring in €150 million per year. So far these proposals have not been met with support.

The second possible solution would be a uniform increase of 7.5 percent from all contributing parties to the transport system, Île de France Mobilités (IDFM).

Currently, the IDFM is financed in 12 percent by the region, 38 percent by passengers, and 50 percent by contributions from private companies. If a 7.5 percent increase was applied across the board, the impact on passengers would be an increase in the Navigo pass to €80.80 euros per month.

And the third possibility, one that has been championed by Pécresse, would be to increase the contribution of companies in Paris and the inner suburbs to the ‘Mobility’ fund. However, this would have to be done by an amendment to the French government’s Finance Bill, and as of late November, parliament stood opposed to tax increases on these companies.

Without any of these solutions taking place, Pécresse has warned that users would have to withstand a 20 percent price increase, meaning a monthly Navigo pass costing between €90 to €100.

Pécresse has called this possibility “socially unbearable” and “anti-environmental.”

The Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune, told RMC on Monday that the ministry will to “everything to avoid an increase to the Navigo pass,” adding that discussions were still underway.

Meanwhile, the government spokesman, Olivier Véran, told France Inter that the government plans to “identify ways and means to avoid an increase as significant as that which has been cited” in discussions with the region.