French cities offer a weekend of free public transport

French cities are offering free public transport this weekend after nearly three-quarters of France is put under a maximum pollution alert in what the European Environment Agency says is the worst air pollution since 2007.

French cities are offering free public transport this weekend after nearly three-quarters of France is put under a maximum pollution alert in what the European Environment Agency says is the worst air pollution since 2007.

PARIS - Paris has announced that public transport will be free for this weekend in order to cut the recent high levels of air pollution brought about by the recent warm, windless weather.

Paris City Hall said that rental bikes and electric cars would also be free for use until pollution levels drop.

“Considering the important risks for the inhabitants, I have decided, along with the government, to make all regional public transportations free during the pollution peak”, said Jean-Paul Huchon, head of the Ile-de-France region and the regional public transport authority in a statement.

Other French cities affected by particle pollution and local authorities include Caen, Rouen, Reims and Grenoble who have also made their public transport free for the weekend in a bid to encourage people to leave their cars at home.

The French government is also considering passing a bill that would require drivers to alternate the days in which they were allowed to drive based on license plate numbers.

Paris was previously put on an air-pollution alert in December 2012 because cold weather entrapped diesel fumes, leading to the most severe smog in the French capital since 2007.

This has meant that the European Commission has put France on notice for disregarding the rules on emissions.

Airparif the French watchdog that monitors air quality, has warned in the past that residents of the French capital suffer from “chronically high levels” of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and particulates.

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