France’s draft mobility legislation – where are we now?
The summer recess is over and the start of a new parliamentary term has begun in earnest with a great deal of enthusiasm in terms of the country’s environmental transition. So let’s take stock of the issues in one of the key pieces of legislation, the Mobility Act (LOM).
This law aims to refresh mobility within France for the 21st century – mobility that is increasingly connected, shared, multifaceted and decarbonised. No new legislation has been passed on this topic since the LOTI law (Domestic Transport Act) in 1982.
After its first passage through the National Assembly and the Senate last June ended in failure, with France’s two chambers failing to reach an agreement, the initial text was re-examined by MPs who adopted it, with 346 votes in favour and 130 against, passing the new act on 17 September.In the end, very few changes have been made to the text and the Senate review session is scheduled for 5 November. Its passing through the Constitutional Council should take place no more than a month later, which would allow the new legislation to come into effect before the end of the year!
Key points of this new legislation
Key points of this new legislation include organisation and mobility as a service, where the idea of proficient mobility is at the heart of the new act. The objective? Avoiding so-called “white spots” and strengthening cooperation between the regions, towns and cities. Currently in France, mobility is organised by AOMs (Mobility Organising Authorities), which can be responsible for towns, cities, municipalities or even mixed transport unions. The issue is that some places, known as “white spots”, simply aren’t covered by an authority or find themselves directly on the border between two that don’t collaborate with one another. Some smaller towns and villages will therefore be responsible for organising their own transport and mobility without any additional special funding in place, the main subject of the disagreement between the National Assembly and the Senate. This is all the more controversial given AOMs have a number of responsibilities to local residents, including ensuring active mobility, shared mobility and transport on demand services are available. They’re also in charge of setting up an application (public or private) to provide multimodal information listing all the services available within their particular region. In this sense, the new legislation will require data from public and private transport services is opened up, except for private hire cars and car sharing schemes. To move towards the much-desired so-called “mobility as a service” outcome (i.e. the principle of designing mobility solutions as a service from point A to point B, regardless of the modes of transport involved, public or private), ticketing is also a concern. Private companies will have to sell other transport services than their own on their platforms.
Autonomous vehicles: the government hopes to use a decree to reform the system over two years in order to facilitate deployment, during which time the UN may reform the Vienna Convention.
Private hire vehicles: the right for private hire vehicle drivers to switch off from work, displaying prices in advance of journeys and giving people the opportunity to refuse payment are the main features of the charter proposed by the new legislation.
Car sharing: carpooled journeys may be subsidised by AOMs, including for drivers who can’t find passengers to take with them, which may help increase take-up of the scheme. Local authorities will also be able to reserve carpool lanes at certain times. Finally, employers will be able to reimburse car sharing costs incurred by their employees in the same way as mileage allowances and travel passes currently work, that is to say, without increasing their employment tax contributions. Other forms of shared mobility, such as car sharing and free-floating scooters, are also part of the new system. However, these are not requirements for local authorities.