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France: The Real Reason Paris Went For An Odd/Even System

  Posted at 06:00:00 PM
  File under  France Travel
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Travelling
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Last Monday the French "government" started an odd/even (pair/impair) system, meaning if your license plate ended in an odd number, you were allowed to go into Paris (link Open link in a new window). All motorcycles and other vehicles with an odd (impair) number were forbidden to enter the city. Officially the reason for this system was to fight the extreme high pollution peak that the city had suffered the week before.

But therein lies the problem: 1) the pollution peak had already died out that weekend and pollution was back to normal on Monday 2) 50% of the measured pollution came from the farming industry around Paris and had nothing to do with the diesel engines that were being blamed 3) motorcycle were banned as well, but there are no diesel motorcycles.

Myanmar Motorway
© REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

So if you read the reasons and the resulting lies, then you know that something else is up. Since the authorities announced the measure on Sunday, for a ban the following day, many people were caught off guard. Some just didn't hear about it, some had to go into Paris and had no other means and couldn't organize it in the short time left, many parents had to drop of their kids to school in areas were there are no school buses, people coming back from a trip abroad with the cars in the airport parking, etc etc. The list was growing with problems.

But then the police, under orders of the government, struck. Over 5,000 fines were issued that day to cars and motorcycle entering the city "illegally", resulting in a record €110,000 fines. Each vehicle entering the city was fined €22...although there were some 28-30% less vehicles in Paris that day.

So now we know why they started the odd/even system. There was no pollution to fight, but there was a lot of money to be made. It's either that or incompetence, and I prefer greed.

NOTE: No, the photo above is not Paris.

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