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Earth Government Transportation

In Response to Pollution Spike, Paris Temporarily Halves Traffic By Decree 198

As reported by News.com.au, the city of Paris has implemented a harsh (but temporary) measure for drivers, in response to a surge in pollution: banning cars with even-numbered registration plates from the streets. According to the article, City mayor Anne Hidalgo had asked authorities to prevent one in every two cars from taking to the capital’s streets and make all public transport temporarily free in a bid to drive down pollution. Only vehicles with numberplates ending in an odd number will be allowed to drive, though exceptions exist for vehicles like taxis, electric cars and ambulances. ... Public transportation is to be free until at least Monday in Paris and its surrounding towns in an effort to force pollution down by coaxing drivers to give up their cars for a few days. Similar emergency measures were last implemented almost exactly a year ago — on March 17 — during a particularly bad spike in the pollution levels.
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In Response to Pollution Spike, Paris Temporarily Halves Traffic By Decree

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  • by stimpleton ( 732392 ) on Sunday March 22, 2015 @03:41AM (#49312041)
    Having been through carless days in the 70's, it is trivial to make evens and odds on alternate days, with maybe Fridays as all allowed. Alienating one group (evens) makes it personal.
    • I'm guessing that French politicians have odd numbered plates . . .

      • I'm guessing that French politicians have odd numbered plates . . .

        They have odd or even numbered plates. That only depends on their current needs.

      • I'm guessing that French politicians have odd numbered plates . . .

        These measures do not affect the wealthy, who can afford multiple vehicles and custom plates. They only affect the poor. I believe a politician, upon hearing this news, said what, they cannot afford to get to work? let them drive their second cars, but that cannot be confirmed.

  • Band-aid on a gushing wound here. We're just pushing issues around and avoiding the real one.

    • Let start with band-aid. Use bigger guns (only) if necessary - later.
      • Re:Temporary (Score:5, Interesting)

        by GrandCow ( 229565 ) on Sunday March 22, 2015 @04:13AM (#49312149)

        We've been doing this for years, both with cap&trade and with better emissions standards. Countries need to start doing a lot more and not just passing the buck so politicians can get reelected again. At some point we as a whole need to make some changes that are going to make people comfortable with the norm pretty unhappy. They can deal with it and adjust, but the norm isn't going to work.

        • I can't edit, but when I say doing this for years I mean putting band-aids on. We need real, legitimate change.

          • by itzly ( 3699663 )

            People don't want change if it causes short term discomfort.

            • Sadly, I agree, and it's also the reason that no real change will ever happen until we are literally on the brink of extinction and we're forced to choose between killing off the entire race or reverting to an age without fossil fuels (or moving on to an age where we no longer need fossil fuels by using alternate fuels). Politicians in the US shoot for being career politicians, so they won't ever rock the boat. We'll never get the change that's needed until the last possible second.

  • by sound+vision ( 884283 ) on Sunday March 22, 2015 @03:53AM (#49312087) Journal
    Usually I'm against nanny-stating, but in this case there is a clear and immediate problem, and there is a quick way to mitigate it. What I hope will happen is that this will (1) put more focus on pollution in France, and (2) teach the people there alternate ways to go about their day that won't pump gobs of pollution into the air.
    • Indeed. This is an example of an issue on which the Libertarians and believers in the Adam Smith's "invisible hand" are being very quiet. Because they have no answer. Regulation and government nudging are the only things that can deal with a pollution problem.

  • Really? Have gendarmes only been trained to recognise odd numbers, and learning two sets of numbers is beyond their training?
  • Too bad there's so much car ownership there...

    If only fewer people owned cars there, and instead car-pooled using Uber...

  • They have a specific problem (NOx and PM), but they address it with broad measures. It may work to some degree, but the costs are significant. (And I still remember car being completely banned on a Sunday... that was even broader, but it also carried a sense of purpose and community.)

    But my main issue is that these measures are very late. Surely they should be taken before pollution reaches unacceptable level, to prevent that from happening.

    • It's temporary. The pollution is being concentrated by weather right now - once the weather changes, the temporary measure can be rescinded.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      And I still remember car being completely banned on a Sunday

      That sounds backwards. Where I live, public transportation is "completely banned on a Sunday". (Source: fwcitilink.com)

      • by emj ( 15659 )

        CITILINK BUSES DO NOT OPERATE on Sundays, New
        Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day,
        Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

        I guess now we know why traffic is such a big problem for LA.

  • by Brulath ( 2765381 ) on Sunday March 22, 2015 @05:43AM (#49312321)

    Public transport uptake would likely increase dramatically, at least here in Australia, if it were free. It probably wouldn't change train usage, but for buses and trams there would likely be a marked uptake. I suppose it might be a hard sell due to the cost, though the benefits of fewer cars on the road might sell that pretty well.

    At a guess, I'd say there are two main reasons people don't use public transport: it's inconvenient to schedule your transport around someone else's timetable and path, and it's inconvenient to have to carry the correct quantity of cash / make sure a bus card has enough money on it; for the poorer demographic the cost part is probably a greater component. Having more people using public transport would probably result in increased availability / paths for public transport, mitigating the first problem a bit.

    Just seems a bit weird; if you want cars off the road, reduce the benefits of using one (using a bus would eliminate wear & tear, fuel, and parking costs). As a bonus your population's health might improve very slightly as people are walking to and from the bus stops.

    • by itzly ( 3699663 )

      Where I live, public transport is running at peak capacity during rush hour. Reducing the price isn't going to have a significant effect on the road traffic. Making it free will likely attract some people that aren't currently on the road at all, such as junkies looking for a comfortable place to sit.

      • by quenda ( 644621 )

        Where I live, public transport is running at peak capacity during rush hour.

        A lot of places effectively have free off-peak travel for commuters. Anyone who regularly uses buses or trains to commute has a weekly or monthly travel card.
        I don't know why they can't extend it to give everyone free off-peak travel. The cost is highly subsidised already, so it makes sense to get more people using it for a small drop in revenue.

    • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

      At a guess, I'd say there are two main reasons people don't use public transport: it's inconvenient to schedule your transport around someone else's timetable and path, and it's inconvenient to have to carry the correct quantity of cash / make sure a bus card has enough money on it; for the poorer demographic the cost part is probably a greater component.

      You're only looking at the demand side of things. You also need to look at the supply side. If you are going to greatly increase demand, you're going to have to increase supply. Public transportation systems don't always scale linearly in terms of cost per supply. In other words, you can't just throw more buses and trains at the problem to increase capacity. You need to hire more people, build more stations, which increases fixed costs in relation to maintenance and HR costs. Seemingly paradoxically, buses

      • by emj ( 15659 )

        Anyways, what you need to do is look at all these costs and decide if it makes sense. It might be cheaper and have more impact to simply subsidize the heck out of plug-in hybrids, or develop a Zipcar style system.

        Cars costs a lot, especially in space, that is the biggest subsidize you get. Sure it's a sunk cost for all apartments and houses, but it's still something that we pay a lot of money to maintain and extend. Individual cars will never ever be cheap, it might seem like it's cheap if you think that everyone should have one.

        • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

          Which is why zipcars make sense. Some people only need to drive once and a while. Some people can use public transportation some of the time but not all of the time. Some people can't use public transportation at all and have to drive everywhere.

          Unless you know what mix you're going to end up with, throwing gobs of money at public transportation might be a waste. A mixed system is probably better.

      • by dasunt ( 249686 )

        If there is a lot of traffic regardless - say in a downtown area during rush hour - buses generate significantly more pollution than cars. Unless each bus is completely full, the emissions benefit may not cover the number of vehicles on the road.

        Assuming that the average car gets 25 mpg, and the average bus gets even 5 mpg, and that idling emissions are proportional to the gas mileage, wouldn't it take just five passengers on the bus to equal one automobile with a single driver?

        I'm not sure where you are

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Paris has reasonable public transport I think, and France isn't bad for EV charging points either. Of course, EVs are exempt from this ban since they don't emit anything.

      • EVs are exempt from this ban since they don't emit anything.

        Electric vehicles themselves do not emit, but they cause power plants to emit.

        • About 80% of France's electrical energy comes from nuclear power plants, with fossil at under 10%. So while power plants do technically emit as a whole, the problem is largely mitigated. Now, there's nuclear waste.
          • by kuzb ( 724081 )

            Nuclear waste isn't really that big a problem if it's contained properly, which it almost always is. We'd be much better off as a planet if we use nuclear as our main power source, and used hydro, geothermal, solar, and wind to help where it's possible.

            Coal needs to go. Period.

          • About 80% of France's electrical energy comes from nuclear power plants

            But how many countries other than France could come to claim the same? I thought arms nonproliferation treaties limited which countries could operate nuclear power. And even if not, how can public sentiment get over a little problem called Fukushima?

        • Electric vehicles themselves do not emit, but they cause power plants to emit.

          Except in France, where only about 8% of their electricity comes from fossil fuels [wikipedia.org].

    • They could pay you a couple bucks and it wouldn't work down here in the southern USA as the few places that actually HAVE public transport like buses have lines that goes from the 'hood to downtown and back. Don't want to deal with junkies, fights, thieves, or go to the hood? tough luck.

      This is why i want to just slap any US political hack that says "oh we'll just jack taxes and they can use public transport"...yeah don't fucking exist and I don't see YOUR ass cutting the defense budget in half to pay for

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        I'd gladly cut the Defense budget in 1/2. But I'm also the type that would spend that on NASA, NOAA, DOT and fixing the embarrassment that is the United states infrastructure.

        • At the end of the year, I look at the disgusting amount of money I give the Feds. I always hope that paid for a solar panel on the ISS, or maybe a few titanium bolts.
          • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

            If you paid $1000 in taxes...

            $600 went to buy bullet to kill people.
            $200 went to pay for operation costs for government
            $100 went to pay for infrastructure
            $50 went to pay for social programs (Education is a social program, damn poor wanting to learn) ......

            $0.05 of your taxes went to NASA and science.

            As a country we value killing people way way above science.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      it's inconvenient to schedule your transport around someone else's timetable and path

      Bingo. There are a lot of cities where the number of lines operating on Sundays or major holidays is a big fat goose egg (zero). So riders have to schedule their lives around 36 to 60 hour scheduled downtimes.

    • Public transports in Paris are already quite cheap (the numbers I'll provide are from memory, please double check if you want to be sure). A few years ago I read that about 1/4th only of the cost is paid by the end user, the rest is subsidies from the various levels of government. And this is even more favorable nowadays: there used to be zones where the farther you were from Paris, the higher you paid. All this has been simplified with a unique fare where the people in the two center zones pay slightly mor
    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Because in most places, public transport is ran by the government and governments/politicians have a tendency to make businesses and contributors happy, not their constituents. Most public transport thus does not run where YOU want to go but rather where people go to spend money, where contributors have lobbied the thing to be built and whatever other decisions make the now privatized bus companies the most money (cutting lines, frequency and convenience while increasing costs and filling vehicles well beyo

  • There is a lot of political pressure in Paris to push out diesel motors, which are often the main source of summer pollution peaks. This
    one actually has another origin: (French source) http://www.airparif.asso.fr/ac... [airparif.asso.fr] .

    There is actually a cloud over much of north Europe, not just Paris. The origin is firstly agricultural.
    Its mostly ammonium nitrate from spring fertilizer spreading. The second source is wood burning out in the country. Diesel
    is the third source in this outbreak.

    The real political problem is

  • How about banning all those barely running properly mopeds and scooters? Last time I was there the smell of two cycle engine exhaust was prevalent about every 5th scooter that went by.

    Every single scooter I have ever seen yes even the top of the line vespas have horrible engines that blast out a lot of unburned fuel as they are never maintained right. and so far I have yet to see a moped sold that has a Catalytic converter and fuel injection, so even new ones are spewing more smog than 2 cars.

  • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Sunday March 22, 2015 @10:23AM (#49313103) Homepage Journal

    This was tried in Athens. What actually happens is that 2 car families who have the option no longer take the smaller, less polluting car half the time, and lots of 1 car families buy a really cheap clapped out, much more polluting car to use on alternate days.

  • by fred911 ( 83970 ) on Sunday March 22, 2015 @11:55AM (#49313445)

    Bogota, Colombia has legislated no drive days all year round. Pico placa publishes the last digits in the paper.
      Anyone of wealth just has multiple vehicles.

  • ....Anne's license plate is even?

    If this were me, I'd just go get my license plate re-issued.

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