How to get around the city at a lower cost?

Urban mobility is nowadays one of the challenges in our metropolises; in the face of rising prices, finding ways to reduce our costs in all areas of our spending is becoming essential. On average, a French person spends 200 € per month on travel. What solutions are available to us and which are the cheapest in urban areas? You will find the answers below.

Quelles solutions mobilité urbaine moins couteuses ?-1

Mobility in urban areas, one of the current worrying issues

We move every day to go to work, to attend appointments, to do the shopping or for our leisure, the place that represents the transport in our lives is primordial. In order to face the development of costs, the increase of congestion in France's municipalities, more precisely in the city centers, with more and more dense traffic, but also to face the challenge of reducing pollution in urban areas. City dwellers as well as our metropolitan communities must find new solutions for travel.

How do the French get around?

A recent study on the travel behavior of the French has shed light on our relationship to mobility. On a national scale, 85% of the population uses a car, 71% walks only, 22% uses their own bicycle or self-service bicycle systems (electric or not, free-floating, etc.) in urban areas, and 8% uses two wheels (scooters or motorcycles).

Another study, the report of which has recently been published, has helped to understand the behavior of inhabitants in urban areas. Four modes of transport were studied: walking, cycling, public transport services and cars. The result is unanimous: the majority of French people travel on foot or by car (for the car, this also includes carpooling). Only a part of them use public transport services frequently, and these are the cities where the development of transport networks is the most advanced, such as Paris, Lyon, Grenoble, etc.

Quelles solutions mobilité urbaine moins couteuses ?-2

What are the costs of the different modes of transport?

In the category of motorized vehicles, the car is undoubtedly the most expensive type of mobility, both in terms of environmental impact and on the wallet. A 2012 report gives us the following data, on an average of 18,000 km per year, the total cost of use would be on average 10,000 €, and this, without taking into account tolls, parking and possible fines. Another report specifies the cost of using a car in France's largest urban cities: without taking into account the cost of gasoline (but only the cost of a driver's license, parking, insurance, and technical inspection), owning a non-electric car would cost about 4,711 € per year in a city like Paris. The total is therefore an average of 333 € per month for 10 € per day, figures that force us to question our use of this type of vehicle in urban spaces. In the other city centers of the metropolis, the figure varies between 3,000 and 4,000 € per year;

Carpooling seems to be a way to save money; the average price of a kilometer in carpooling being 0.13 euro per kilometer and at the same time, to limit CO2 emissions in the different municipalities, it is estimated that a trip in carpooling allows to decrease by 67% the CO2 emissions. Carpooling therefore allows you to spend less, but also to pollute less. You will have understood, whether it is for the traffic, the environment, or in terms of costs; using the car in town and in urban areas is no longer appropriate.

As far as public transport services are concerned, to use public transport services in the metropolises, it will cost around 1.70 € for a ticket and an average of 67 € per month and per inhabitant for a subscription. This represents a daily cost of 2.23 €. With the development of the transport offer in the big cities and the multiplication of lines, travel is therefore cheap and relatively practical if you work and live in a big city;

As for electric bicycles,one of the new trends in mobility, the costs are mainly in the price of recharging their battery. Depending on the power of the battery used by the electric bike, you will pay between 0.012 € and 0.057 € per recharge. To calculate the cost price of an electric bike, simply add up the purchase price (smoothed over a period of 10 years) as well as the various other maintenance charges: in total, you will spend the equivalent of 401.15 € per year to use your bike, which is a cost price of 0.40 €/km. Investing in a bicycle seems to be the right thing to do today in dense areas;

For some years now, many cities have also been offering "free-floating" services: electric or conventional bicycles, electric scooters, etc. These fleets of bicycles and scooters are available to all citizens. These fleets of bicycles and scooters, spread out in various towns in France, have rapidly become one of the most popular means of travel. As for the price, it depends on the company, but you should generally count 1 € for the unlocking (some offer this service for free) and between 7 and 25 cents per minute. This is an interesting offer, but it can be expensive for daily use. There are also self-service electric scooters, which are obviously more expensive than bikes and scooters.

The government is working with local authorities to increase the performance of public transport and to find solutions for less expensive and more environmentally friendly mobility, thanks to the Mobility Orientation Law (published in the Official Journal on December 26, 2019). In addition, since January 2023, the ZFE law has come into force in 11 urban areas, prohibiting the partial or total driving of diesel vehicles built before 2001. This law would affect more than 250,000 vehicles across France, this measure appeared as part of the law of orientation of mobilities voted in 2019 and aiming to fight against CO₂ emissions, thus preserving a quality of air. The 11 agglomerations being for all dense urban areas. So for your travels in the city, you will have to favor the use of public transport services or even the bicycle, whether electric or not, in order to save money.

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