Back to school: those words are synonymous with change, even in transportation. SMT Artois-Gohelle revised its rates with the objective of making the bus and TER (regional trains) more attractive to those under 26 years of age. All of the prices were reviewed and will be applicable beginning the first of September.
“General Public,” “Youth” and “Solidarity.” These are the three new offers of the Tadao network, managed by the SMT Artois-Gohelle, which spans 115 communes of the mining basin of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. Having met in June, the union committee decided to revise the prices of subscriptions and tickets. Some will rise, and others will be lowered.
“We have not revised the rates since 2007, when the TVA (value-added tax) was raised two times, passing from 5.5 to 7%, then from 7 to 10%. We absorbed the cost of these increases. It was a political choice,” explains those in the communication department.
Their political climate has since changed: in addition to “boosting the use of the network,” the goal is now to go “find” those less than 26 years old and to get them to favor public transportation. For this select group, Tadao is lowering prices. An unlimited subscription to the bus and TER will henceforth cost 50 euro per year, “in place of 170 euro. We would like for youths to use the bus more often, not only for going to school or to work, but for going to the gym, to the movies…”
This generous gesture will pay off for the company. That’s the principle of interconnection: to compensate, the cost of a single-ride bus ticket will be raised from 1.1 euro to 1.2 euro. This amounts to ten cents that make certain users of transportation grind their teeth. The families of schoolchildren will also have to dig into their purses. For a subscription that allows for a free round-trip ticket to and from school, one will henceforth have to pay 10 euro per year for a pass. This is a change from being completely free, even though the sum is still mostly symbolic. As a point of comparison, families in Douai have to pay a high price of 100 euro to obtain transportation passes for their high schoolers.
For those seeking jobs, an unlimited monthly pass comes to 5 or 14 euro depending on the damages they are owed. The advantage? “Many quickly use up the 10 free monthly rides given to job-seekers. From this point forward, they can get around more often and can go farther in their search for employment,” estimates those at SMT. With regard to the more elderly citizens, they will have to hunt down their glasses in order to better see the new subscription prices. Those older than 65 years old are still in the category “Solidarity.” Before September 1st, non-taxpaying seniors had the right to 10 free trips per month. Those older than 70 were granted free rides all year long. This system is now over. Everyone has to pay. Their access to transport will now be unlimited and will cost them 5 euro per month if they do not pay taxes and 14 euro per month if they pay taxes.
All of these rates will be applicable beginning September 1st. However, the SMT suggests that residents plan to buy their passes in advance to avoid waiting in line...at the ticket window.
Will this marketing campaign’s targeting of youth ultimately increase use of public transit, or is the cost simply too high for most sections of the population? How has your city dealt with transportation fare adjustments?
Original article, originally published in French, here.
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