France: inner-city road toll a good idea?

The French government is drawing up legislation under which car drivers would have to pay a toll for driving into city centres in a bid to fight air pollution. A toll of at least 2.50 euros would be imposed in cities with more than 100,000 residents. France's media focus on the social aspects of this step.

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Le Figaro (FR) /

Suburbanites are being excluded

A new toll for car drivers is blatant social discrimination, Le Figaro puts in:

“How will France's suburbanites fail to see an unabashed form of social segregation in a measure that allows cosmopolitan citizens and the better off to move around freely in our museum-cities after they have been rid of suburbanites and (perhaps) of air pollution, while the others must wait at the city gates for the hypothetical development of efficient and safe public transport? ... They will rightly point out that in 80 percent of the country the car is the only way of getting around, and that the kick scooter - even if it's electric - is not a means of transportation for ordinary mortals.”

La Croix (FR) /

Finance alternatives to cars

The measure is certainly worth a try, traffic expert Charles Raux writes in La Croix:

“The model may appear socially unfair, and it's very likely that opponents of a traffic toll in cities will advance this kind of argument. That's why the constraints must be compensated for. Notably by using revenues from the toll to finance alternatives to cars: improved and expanded public transport networks, more bike lanes. ... But contrary to what one might think, this kind of redistribution ultimately reduces inequalities between citizens.”