PARIS: Paris’s town hall decision to make gasoline-fuelled motorcycles pay for parking kicked in this Thursday, triggering reactions from riders ranging from resignation to dissatisfaction.
The new charge fulfills a campaign promise of socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo and was set to start in January, but the measure was delayed as Hidalgo made a bid for the French presidency in the spring.
The move aims to reduce noise and pollution, as parking for electric motorcycles remains free.
“I’m totally against it (…) I might take the car to come to Paris now, who knows, so we’ll have even more traffic jams, this measure is really totally inappropriate”, said pensioner Herve Jehanin, who lives in the suburbs.
In recent years, Hidalgo has built a network of new bike lanes and increased parking fees for cars in a bid to steer Parisians and commuters towards more environmentally-friendly transport options.
“I just paid my parking fee. This impact is financial but after that I think the goal is to kick out all type of vehicle out of Paris (…) it’s sad but that’s the way it is,” said Sylvain Guittet, an architect whose offices are just outside Paris.
Motorcycling organizations and Paris’ conservative opposition have called the motorbike parking fee plan a new tax that will not reduce congestion, while groups representing cyclists and pedestrians have welcomed the move, saying it was long overdue.
“This changes everything (…) the only option left for us will be to let go of our motorbikes but, as things stand now, it is not easy to do everything by bike in Paris,” said Antoine Coulis, a 23-year-old student.