Public Transportation in Paris is Now Free for Students

Families of school-age Parisians will now get full reimbursements for the cost of the travel pass.

Sep 19, 2020

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September means back to school for most students. It also means back to school shopping for clothing, books, and supplies. In Paris, going back to school just got a lot easier on the pockets of families. That’s because public transportation in France’s capital is now free for students up to age-18.

The Conseil de Paris (city council) approved the change in August 2020 according to The Local and it is expected to save families €350 every year. This applies to all students who hold an Imagine R Navigo pass that covers Paris and the surrounding areas. It is estimated that 135,000 children will benefit from this initiative.

This benefit previously only applied to children up to age-11 with a discount built in for older children but the city council voted to extend it to all students this year. Parents can apply for full reimbursements from the transit authority RATP to their passes.

“The evolution towards a more sustainable, clean and multifaceted model of urban mobility involves developing the reflex to use public transport from an early age.” said a City Hall statement.

This new change is a possible step in a potentially free transit system in the city according to Bloomberg City Lab. The first step in that direction occurred in 2018 when the transit authority made city-wide transportation free for senior citizens. Then in September 2019, children under 11 – and all children with disabilities – were allowed to ride free.

Right now, it is unclear if Paris will take the final steps of making public transportation free for all city residents. Some smaller cities in France like Dunkirk already adopted this move for free buses in 2018. The entire country of Luxemburg started offering free public transportation in January 2020.

Right now, funding public transportation is at an all time low due to a decline in ridership because of the coronavirus pandemic according to Bloomberg. Train and bus transportation across France have lost an estimated €2.6 Billion in revenue since March 2020. The industry is looking for a bailout from the government.

But the free transportation for Parisian youth still began on September 1, 2020, partly due to the fact that it was a campaign promise of Paris’s mayor Anne Hidalgo when she ran for re-election. While it is not as economically advantageous as when it was first proposed, it seems that Parisian families are supporting the move.

At a time when European’s are working to meet their climate goals of preventing more than a 1.5 Celsius rise in global warming , increasing the use of public transportation will go a long way to reduce emissions. You can actually track the progress your country is making on the Climate Action Tracker. At this time only Morocco is on-target.

If more countries will get on board by reducing or eliminating the cost of public transportation and reducing the number of cars in their city centers, global emissions will go down and climate change could be slowed down and possibly halted while there is still time to save the planet.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.