Free public transport in Montpellier: a “success” according to the Métropole which publishes its first attendance report

Free public transport in Montpellier: a “success” according to the Métropole which publishes its first attendance report

Une fréquentation en hausse de 23,7 % entre le premier trimestre 2019 et celui de 2024. Midi Libre – MICHAEL ESDOURRUBAILH

Les incivilités sont aussi en nette baisse sur le réseau de transports. Les déplacements à vélo ont eux aussi augmenté, tandis que la Métropole s’affirme comme une des premières pour le nombre de trajets en covoiturage du quotidien.

This was one of the great unknowns of the transition to free public transport in the Metropolis, implemented on December 21. Was bus and tram attendance going to jump ? The answer is yes. Between the 1st quarter of 2019 – last year of normal attendance – and that of 2024, the increase is 23.7%. "An increase has (in particular) was observed during traditionally off-peak hours, testifying to more diversified uses < /em>(leisure, sociability…)", underlines the Metropolis.

Incivility on the decline

Could this be one of the consequences of the establishment of the metropolitan transport police, which will eventually bring together 42 agents, in addition to the 82 Tam agents ? Still the fact remains that the Incivility has fallen by 26% in five years. "119 cases were noted, compared to 161 in the 1st quarter of 2019".It is the attacks against Tam agents which drop the most (from 70 to 39 cases), while those against travelers increase (from 11 to 15).

“The estimated fraud percentage”

How was the 23.7% increase in attendance obtained? In 2019, the figure resulted from the validation of transport tickets , "corrected for an estimated fraud percentage". The choice of this percentage (which was not communicated by the Metropolis) is obviously of great importance. Especially since in 2024, counting cells, placed above each door, will analyze attendance. A much more reliable counting system. Another point explains the increase in recorded attendance. The Metropolis gains 8,000 inhabitants per year, which makes 40,000 more between 2019 and 2024…

Cycling is also progressing

Has the increase in public transport use come at the expense of cycling? The answer is no. "The average daily number of cyclists increases by 16.2 % in the Metropolis, and by 17.2 % in Montpellier", announces the community. Figures collected from the 38 comparable bicycle measurement points, from 2022 to 2023. This is also the fruit of the 150 M€ invested in favor of active mobility by the Metropolis.

Carpooling at the top

The carpooling offer, deployed since March 2021 by the Metropolis to serve areas further from Montpellier, is also bearing fruit. 31 652 daily journeys were made by carpooling, which makes the Metropolis the leading territory in France (excluding the Paris region). "For three years, this alternative to the private car has made it possible to make 710 000 journeys for nearly 17 million kilometers", specifies the community.

A freebie in three stages

Total free access, effective since December 21, is the third phase. The first, valid on weekends, was launched in September 2020 and is a success. "4 million visitors were recorded over the first eight months of 2022 in the city center, i.e. 12 and 10 % more than’in 2020 and  nbsp;2021", announces the Metropolis. "The second phase of free admission, launched in September 2021, allowed under 18s to save 196  ;€ per year, and over 65s to spend 321 € in less".

Assured funding

According to the Metropolis, "the cost of free access is around 30 million euros per year", i.e. as much as the sums collected via the Mobility Payment (the tax paid by companies with at least 11 employees) in 2024. Figures to be put into perspective with the mobility policy ;nbsp;: one billion euros including 440 million euros; invested for tram line 5 and 255 M€ for the five bustram lines. The Metropolis reminds that it still receives 500,000 euros; of ticketing revenue per month.

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