Emmanuel Macron has vowed to press on with controversial fuel taxes, despite violent protests that have rocked France and left two people dead. The French president said he sympathised with the so-called ‘ gilets jaunes’ (yellow vests), the high-visibility vest-wearing demonstrators who have blockaded roads and petrol depots to protest at fuel tax rises. But he insisted he would not abandon the policy, although the tax could be revised during periods when fuel prices were prohibitively high. Referring to a climate change march in September, he added: “You cannot be pro-environment on Monday and then when Tuesday comes be against rising fuel prices”. Congestion charges will not be introduced in France’s major cities in the near future, following opposition from mayors and motorists. The proposal has been dropped from draft transport law that was set to introduce tolls similar to the congestion charge in London. The government backed down after the mayors of Paris, Bordeaux, Nice and Marseille all opposed the idea. However, in a separate ruling, ministers in Paris have voted that diesel vehicles registered before 2001 will no longer be permitted to drive in 79 communes in the Greater Paris area from July.
Tourists have been warned to be aware of a taxi scam which saw a couple from Thailand charged five times the standard fare from Charles de Gaulle airport to the centre of Paris. Official taxis in the capital are obliged to charge a flat rate fee for tourists leaving the airport, with journeys to the Right Bank of Paris capped at €50 and journeys to the Left Bank capped at €55. The Thai couple were charged €247. Local authorities are investigating the incident.
Hydrogen-powered trains are to be trialled in Nouvelle-aquitaine in the hope that services can be up and running commercially by 2022. The trains will be tested on the Bordeaux-soulac, AngoulêmeSaintes-royan, Bordeaux-bergerac-sarlat and Bordeaux-périgueux-limoges lines. Germany has had hydrogen trains in commercial use since September.
No congestion charge for Paris