free transport for ticket holders, the false promise of Paris 2024

The announcement of price increases for Parisian transport during the Olympic and Paralympic Games crystallizes criticism. Especially since it seems to go against the grain of the initial promise.

4 euros for a metro ticket, 16 euros per day for a p.Paris 2024” : to say the least special pricing for Ile-de-France transport during the 2024 Olympic Games, announced Monday evening by Valérie Pécresse, is not unanimous. On social networks, Internet users and left-wing political figures are screaming against these attacks, which will take place from July 20 to September 8, i.e. over the entire period from the start of the Olympics to the end of the Paralympic Games.

So are these games 100% accessible by public transport? Metros and buses reserved for the richest?», castigated on X (ex-Twitter) David Belliard, green deputy at Paris town hall. “Planned privatization, metro ticket prices doubled, when liberal logic rules, Ile-de-France residents toast!», scathed the national secretary of the PCF and deputy for the North, Fabien Roussel. The LFI deputy for Val-de-Marne, Clémence Guetté, criticized “a gift from the right and the Macronists united”believing that “the predicted disaster is becoming clearer!»

A new pricing which goes all the more badly since, as the sports economist Pierre Rondeau pointed out on Paris 2024 application file, presented in 2017, provided for free public transport for ticket holders, across the entire Île-de-France network, on the day of the competition in question. “Monday’s announcement seems to be more a matter of economic opportunism than anything else and goes against the trend which aims instead to favor free transport to encourage the use of low-carbon modes of transport.», judge with the Figaro Christophe Lepetit, head of economic studies at the Center for Sports Law and Economics (CDES) in Limoges. For the economist, this controversy “illustrates the difficulty of coordinating all the stakeholders of the Olympic Games (Paris 2024, Region, Île-de-France Mobilités, etc.)“.

Île-de-France Mobilités defends itself

And in fact, on the side of Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM), the organizing authority for public transport in the Ile-de-France region, we affirm “never having committed to free transport for ticket holders“. “IDFM has always refused free transport whatever the framework», we insist, placing the responsibility on the organizers of the Olympic Games, the Paris 2024 committee. IDFM also affirms that Paris 2024 has renounced the free admission promised in December 2022, after having “revised its financial balances in order to create room for maneuver to cope with the unforeseen additional costs of inflation and to concentrate on key expenses“. Contacted, Paris 2024 has not yet responded to our requests. IDFM justifies this special pricing by strengthening the transport offer by 15% during the Games. “Visitors will pay the right price for these thousands of trains and thousands more subways», We indicate from the side of the authority chaired by Valérie Pécresse, estimating their additional cost at 200 million euros. “There is no question of Ile-de-France residents paying this cost», declared the LR boss of the Île-de-France region in a video published on X.

This is where the defense of Île-de-France Mobilités lies: many Ile-de-France residents will not experience any increase. “For all monthly, annual, Imagine’R or even senior subscribers, i.e. 5 million people, this changes nothing», we reure. On the other hand, occasional users are called upon to anticipate in order not to suffer these increases. Either by subscribing to the Liberté+ contract – a sort of Télépéage p for Parisian public transport – or by purchasing tickets in advance, before July 20. In addition, IDFM is trying to reduce the amount of the special Olympic p to 16 euros per day. “The daily p in London, the only network comparable to that of Paris in Europe, costs 23 euros per day», we emphasize. And 16 euros, it remains cheaper, we add, than the cost of the Navigo day p, at 20.10 euros, and which will increase to 20.60 euros as of January 1, 2024. However, reduced to the week, the JO p will cost 70 euros, compared to 30 euros for the Navigo week p currently.

Read alsoOlympic Games 2024: is the fear of a big bazaar in Parisian transport justified?

“The least bad solution”

Ile-de-France transport user ociations are showing more restraint. “It’s pretty fair that there are higher rates during the Olympics for non-subscribers and non-residents. The additional offer is expensive and if it is not the visitor who pays, it will be the daily user or the taxpayer.“, estimated the Plus de trains sur X ociation. For Marc Pélissier, president of FNAUT Île-de-France, “it is the logical continuation of the state-region agreement on the financing of public transport in the Ile-de-France region, in which the subject of the additional cost of the special JO service was not addressed“. “It was the least bad solution. But between free access and the doubling of prices, we could have had a message that was a little more welcoming“, he admits.

However, user ociations are wondering about the duration of the special pricing, from July 20 to September 8. “This double price will remain in effect between the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games, so there will be either Ile-de-France residents or visitors who come for something other than the Olympic Games, who will end up with this additional price.», points out Marc Pélissier. “We cannot increase prices, lower prices, then increase them again», we argue at IDFM. The Plus de Trains ociation judges that these special prices are not justified during the Paralympic Games, because “there will be many fewer visitors“. A member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and having actively participated in the organization of the support campaign for the Paris candidacy, Guy Drut takes a step back: “The closer we get to the Olympic Games, the more this type of debate will arise.. It is normal for tension to rise as the competition approaches and for problems to be resolved to accumulate, particularly budgetary ones. This was the case in Rio, in London, in Tokyo…»

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