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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article3 January 20241 min read

Metropole Aix-Marseille-Provence considers free public transport and encourages carpooling with financial incentives

The French southern metropole, Aix-Marseille-Provence, has taken steps to scale up its affordable and sustainable transport options, and in doing so is re-examining the possibility of introducing free public transport to its residents.

Free public transport is rising in popularity in France and is already established in cities Pays d’Aubagne and Montpellier. The Metropole would like to make the benefit available to all its residents - an area of two million people.

To support this activity, a feasibility assessment on the topic of free public transport was announced by Martine Vassal, President of the southern France metropolitan area, at the Zero Carbon Forum in Marseille. This assessment will build on a previous analysis concluded in 2019, which concluded that free public transport would come at a cost of EUR 250 million and was not financially viable. While cost is likely to still be an issue, the new study will commence at the start of 2024 and survey the 92 mayors that make up this metropolis.

While the rollout of free public transport is still in its infancy, short-distance carpooling or “Lecovoiturage” is a recent measure implemented across the Aix-Marseille-Provence, aimed at reducing traffic at peak-travel hours. Carpooling is made available via a mobile app operated by Karos – a company known for developing other platform services across the country.

Carpooling today is mostly used as an option for long-distance journeys, however, the metropolis hopes to popularise it for regular short-distance journeys within cities. Drivers will be paid EUR 2 per trip and per passenger, and an additional 10 cents per kilometre (km) and per passenger offered for journeys that exceed 20-km. Vouchers worth EUR 50 are also given to participants joining the scheme when they complete 10 journeys. Additional incentives are available for passengers who have a public transit pass.  These passengers can travel for free on journeys under 30-km and pay 10 cents for every additional km beyond that. For passengers without a pass it will cost 50 cents for 30-km trips.

These actions display the territory’s commitment to improving the lives of its residents by offering a range of transport options that are affordable, accessible and environmentally friendly.



Publication date
3 January 2024
  • Collective passenger transport
  • Shared mobility
  • France