The Paris Number Plate Lottery: Why This Eco-Friendly Idea Is An Economic Disaster

Starting on Monday 17th March 2014, the French government put into gear a somewhat controversial plan to decrease the dangerous levels of air pollution in the country’s capital city, Paris.

Paris Number Plate Lottery

At the time of writing, air pollution levels in the centre of Paris currently range from “Moderate” to “Unhealthy” according to the Real-time Air Quality Index website. In comparison, today’s readings for London in the United Kingdom show just “Moderate”.

The French government came up with an interesting plan to help it tackle the smog levels in Paris: only allow some cars into the capital some of the time! Basically, their plan involves a number plate lottery of sorts, with even numbers being allowed into the city on certain days, and odd numbers on others.

They were keen to point out that there are some exceptions to the rule, such as for electric vehicles (which makes sense, because they don’t have internal combustion engines), hybrid cars, taxis, buses, and cars with three or more occupants.

But here’s the thing: this idea is proving to be increasingly unpopular with Parisians who, in the spirit of revolution, are risking the €22 Euro fine if caught by the thousands of police staff enforcing these new rules.

A recent article by The Guardian newspaper suggests that Paris residents and workers are angry with these new rules because it will cause them severe delays, with one person saying that commuting to work and back only takes her 20 minutes by car, yet the same journey using public transport would take an extraordinary 1.5 hours!

Why the plans won’t work

I am probably being a cynical soul, but these new plans by the French government simply won’t work, and here are the reasons why.

Firstly, the fine of €22 Euros is a risk that virtually all Parisians will be prepared to take in order to drive their cars into the city centre. In LThe French government came up with an interesting plan to help it tackle the smog levels in Paris: only allow some cars into the capital some of the time! Basically, their plan involves a number plate lottery of sorts, with even numbers being allowed into the city on certain days, and odd numbers on others.

They were keen to point out that there are some exceptions to the rule, such as for electric vehicles (which makes sense, because they don’t have internal combustion engines), hybrid cars, taxis, buses, and cars with three or more occupants.

ondon, there has been a congestion charging zone in place for many years now, and charges road users £10 a day (although it is free for low-emissions vehicles). Such a set-up would have been a better solution, as it would encourage Paris motorists to drive more eco-friendly cars into the city centre.

A friend of mine from Imperial Car Supermarket has even suggested that, in addition, the government should consider offering generous grants to Parisians towards the cost of buying brand new, eco-friendly cars. This would certainly help to decrease smog levels in the city and boost the country’s ailing motor industry.

Another obvious solution would be to increase the amount of Park & Ride services in and around Paris. This would encourage motorists to park their cars in a secure area for the day and take a greener form of transport into the city and back, and, as a by-product, would also generate additional revenue for the transport sector.

Although Paris has a good bus and Metro network, there is certainly room for improvement and it is a topic that the government should seriously consider improving in the near future.

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