Unanimously – with green and far-left votes – the mayor of Montpellier voted for the creation of a metropolitan transport police while at the same time he introduced free public transport.
Michaël Delafosse, new socialist mayor of Montpellier, excels in the art of handling the carrot and the stick. He has just obtained a unanimous vote from the metropolitan council – with the voices of the far left and environmentalists – in favor of the creation of a metropolitan transport police … And at the same time, he installs, in stages, the free access of these same public transport for the inhabitants. In short, social and order!
« It’s because I’m on the left that I take care of security, he declares, after a fiery speech to the metropolitan council on Monday morning. In public transport, care must be taken to respect the rules and civility. Women must be able to borrow them safely like those who go to their work. Elderly people should feel good there. There must be respect for goods and people in public transport. »
Montpellier is the first large metropolis to have introduced free transport. The experiment started last fall but only concerned the weekend. From next September, seniors over 65 and young people under 18 will benefit from it during the week. However, it will not exempt from the use of a transport ticket, even if it is free. In the capital of Hérault, everyone must first register on the TaM website to obtain the “ weekend pass », And validate it each time you climb. This step allows the operator to know who is taking the bus or the tram, and above all to assess the number of users.
Free transport but tightened controls
Free access is, in fact, always synonymous with a demand for air which increases the use of public transport. The Montpellier metropolitan area network transports up to 340,000 people per day, controlled by 82 agents working in brigades recognizable by their white shirts and dark blue pants. From now on, they will be supported in their mission by a “ metropolitan transport police»42 agents including 4 dog lovers. These will intervene in brigade of three, accompanied by three controllers. They will be armed with Category B weapons – electric pulse pistols, telescoping defense sticks and stun aerosol generators. In full compliance with the national administrative regulations: since 2016, the Savary law has extended the authorization to create a municipal police force to include metropolitan areas.
A transport police to deal with incivility and crimes
These new 42 police officers will take up their duties in the course of 2022; they will be added to the 334 municipal police officers located in all the towns of the metropolis. Why then a specific policy for transport? Because unlike municipal police officers who can only intervene in the area of the city that employs them, these police officers will have a much broader territorial jurisdiction, extended to the entire metropolis. Assistant judicial police officers, they will be able to note the offenses and, in this case, identify the identities to present the perpetrators to the national police. Some 1,300 infringements are noted each year on the Montpellier public transport network. Some are very serious, such as attacks on agents and property, attacks on customers, others are less serious, such as obstacles to the movement of buses or trams … In short, this police force will be one more weapon for this. Left-wing mayor, who wants to give himself the means to keep his promises – since he has made security one of the strong axes of his mandate.