Public transport in the town of Niort in Deux-Sèvres is now free, making it the 30th French town to offer free public transport. The first to introduce free buses was the commune of Compiègne in Oise in1975. While supporters of the initiative cite environmental and economic benefits, opposers claim that it adds to taxpayers’ costs. Niort expects passenger numbers to be up 30% by September 2019.
NEW WINTER FLIGHT
EasyJet has announced a new seasonal service from Southampton airport to Geneva. The new winter-only route, which will offer skiers increased access to the French Alps, will start on 14 December. The service will operate three times a week throughout the winter, with flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Flights start from £31.99.
All of central Paris will be closed to vehicles for its annual car-free day on 1 October. While previous years have banned motors from specific areas, such as the Champs-Élysées, this year the whole of the city centre will be closed to motorised vehicles, with exceptions made for emergency vehicles. Now in its third year, the initiative aims to cut pollution and promote walking, cycling and other eco-friendly ways of travelling around.
France’s first hydrogen bus service is set to be launched in the town of Pau in Pyrénées-Atlantiques in 2019. There will be eight hydrogen buses that will run between the railway station and the hospital. A few examples of hydrogen buses have already been tested, but it is the first time in France that a bus route will be fully served by this eco-friendly technology.