31 March 2017

[report] public transport fare policies: a challenge for mediterranean cities – webinar in french

jointly by CODATU and CMI, the webinar took place on Wednesday 11 January 2017 within the framework of the activities of the Community of Practice for Sustainable Urban Transport in the Mediterranean Region.

Conceived as an initiative to promote collaborative learning and capacity building, the webinar presented on one hand the Tunisian experience of a transport manager, Mr. Wahid Ben Slimane (TRANSTU), and on the other hand, the vision of an expert on the French experience in fare policies, Mr. Pierre-François Nouaille (CEREMA).

During the first session, Mr Nouaille, senior expert on financing issues in CEREMA, analyzed the French experience in fare policy through the presentation of a few concrete cases and Mr Ben Slimane, Head of Sales and Marketing Department and Project Manager of the new ticketing system of Transtu, held a presentation on the operation of the public transport sector. Mr. Ben Slimane explained the complexity of fares’ systems in Tunisia and the lack of interoperability between operators, which poses a real problem in a transport system in strong development such as Tunis.

Both presentations highlighted the main obstacles encountered and the strategies put in place to overcome them. The second half-hour was entirely dedicated to the audience’s questions.

Fares integration and social fares in France

Free access to the same network has become widespread on urban networks since the early 1980s allowing users to switch between lines free of charge.

With the sole exception of the Ile-de-France, where the single transport authority (STP and then STIF since 2000) enabled the Orange card in 1975, in the French provinces different stakeholders cooperate together. Normally, the organization of public transport in France is expressed through three levels:

  • the Urban Mobility Organizing Authority at the urban or agglomeration level,
  • the Department for the interurban transport (loss of jurisdiction on 1 January 2017) and
  • the Region for the regional rail transport.

The implementation of an integrated multimodal fare is therefore subject to a voluntary agreement between the organizing authorities operating in the same territory. Depending on the degree of cooperation between local authorities and of integration of fare policies in the territory, the integrated fare varies considerably in the extension of territories and concerned modes of transport.

This need has often led the organizing authorities to link fare integration and ticketing system through innovative technologies (as smart cards). Even though ICTs allow a more detailed knowledge of the network and facilitate cooperation between various stakeholders, they are not necessary for fare integration. The fare integration allows the user to get rid of the notion of organizing authority and increases accessibility to all the networks present in a territory. The integrated fare permit, with the titles of the fare range, to travel on all modes present in a territory without distinction of the competences to which these modes cling.

Article 111 of the SRU law (codified in the Transport Code to Articles L1231-10 and L1231-11) allows, since 2000, several transport authorities, in a territory that they define, to associate themselves in a joint transport union whose tasks include, in particular, the introduction of coordinated fare allowing the issuance of single or unified transport tickets. This practice is however still rare in France (with only 12 mixed unions created at the end of 2011). This difficulty in coordinating the implementation of fare policies is illustrated in particular by the low share represented by intermodal trips in the use of public transport: less than 1% in 2011.

For more details, download Mr Nouaille’s presentation in french: Présentation webinar Pierre-François Nouaille Cerema.

The New TRANSTU System

Reseau Bus Transtu

The actual public transport system in Greater Tunis is characterized on the one hand by its complexity, coexistence of several modes and operators serving the metropolitan and regional territory and, on the other hand, by the lack of a global public transport policy and a system for fare integration of networks.

Passengers’ public transport in Greater Tunis is currently carried out by 2 public operators (TRANSTU and SNCFT), 4 private operators and taxis (individual taxi and collective taxi), which together ensure the displacement of 1.4 million passengers per day.

With 390 million passengers a year, TRANSTU operates the light rail network, including the Tunis-Goulette-Marsa (TGM) line, and a network of city buses. These two modes were integrated into a single network during the creation of the Transport Company of Tunis (STT) whose the trade name is TRANSTU. SNCFT operates a suburban railway line between Tunis and Erriadh via Hammam-Lif (line A of the future RFR network). The ticketing system of this line is currently paper-based. Private transport companies, TUS, TCV, TUT and STC operate more than 30 bus lines within the conurbation. Currently, there is no fare integration between these different operators. Even though, a high proportion of users (around 60%) benefit from reduced fare for students and representatives of the police forces, the army, or certain officials.

A system of smart ticketing is being implemented to better integrate the two modes (light rail and urban bus network) but the fare is not integrated between the sub-networks of the STT. Mr. Ben Slimane highlighted the challenges that have arisen in the implementation of the new ticketing systems and the complexity of the fare system study piloted by the Ministry of Transport.

The new ticketing system on TRANSTU’s bus and rail network will be magnetic (tickets, 10-ticket tickets and weekly and contactless cards. Validation will only be carried out at the entrance of the stations: 55 out of a total of 90 stations on the rail network and 3 major stations in the bus network will be closed, the others will be opened with docking systems. The validation and sale will take place on board.

The rapid rail network of Tunis (RFR), under construction, is an essential element of the strategy to improve urban mobility and sustainable development of Greater Tunis. To maximize the efficiency of this network and halt the deterioration of the modal share of public transport, it is important to better integrate the pricing of the various modes of transport and to integrate the new ticketing system being set up on the TRANSTU network and soon on the RFR network as well.

In this context, the Ministry of Transport has initiated a study whose objective is to review the integration of public transport networks in the fare policy through the harmonization of fare structures and ticketing systems for all operators Public transport systems for bus and rail modes, with TRANSTU and RFR as the main networks concerned.

For more details, download the presentation in french of M. Wahid Ben Slimane : Présentation webinar Wahid Ben Slimane TRANSTU.