Prohibited from driving in town from Thursday, they prefer “not to go there anymore” or “pay fines” than to change their car

Marseille motorists whose car has a Crit’Air 5 sticker will have to find a solution from this Thursday to avoid the Low Emission Zone (ZFE) circumscribed to the hypercentre. Like many French cities, Marseille is gradually deploying this measure, which aims to improve air quality by banning less recent vehicles.

But not necessarily the least polluting according to some of our readers who responded to our call for testimonials to find out what they thought of the implementation of certain traffic restrictions from September 1 in Toulouse, Lyon or even Rouen. “It would be good if the articles stopped repeating over and over again that Crit’Air 3, 4 or 5 vehicles are the most polluting. The number of vignette Crit’Air has nothing to do with pollution, it is only related to the year of the vehicle. Recent large SUVs and 4x4s pollute more than some old small cars, but as they are recent they have the right to drive in town,” Philippe reminds us.

“Scrap cars in good condition”

Maurice owns a car that left the factory in 2008 and was classified as Crit’Air 3. He’s far from being crazy about driving, he’s even more of a fan of soft modes, preferring walking and cycling. He therefore uses very little of his 14-year-old vehicle, which has only 126,000 km on the odometer, and he maintains it regularly. “At a time when we are finally trying to give a second life, or even more, to our everyday objects, it is difficult to understand and accept that we will have to scrap a vehicle in such good condition! And to replace it with what? A partially or totally electric vehicle when the State announces a lack of electricity and asks us to save money, ”deplores the latter. And many of them do not want to trade their old car in good condition for a newer vehicle, an “ecological nonsense” for them.

Willy-nilly, some are forced to change their clunkers if they want to continue working. This is the case for many artisans. Like Jean-Marc’s brother-in-law, who has just taken over his father’s electricity company in the Toulouse suburbs, who has decided to invest in an authorized vehicle. “He bought an electric van several months ago, but it will still not be delivered until March 2023, at best, due to various shortages. But as of today, he can no longer enter the ring road and the city center because his father’s old van is Crit’Air 4,” says Jean-Marc indignantly. As for her waitress sister-in-law, she wonders how she will manage next year, when her Crit’Air 4 car will be banned and she will have to come home in the middle of the night, without being able to find a means of transport by common.

Daniel is also a craftsman in the Pink City and, even if his vehicle is Crit’Air, he shows his solidarity with those who cannot change vehicles. “I’m sure there will be exemptions for town hall vehicles, but the craftsman will be the cash cow,” he complains. Jérôme has been building “houses that have not needed heating for fifteen years” and has taken a radical decision: he no longer goes to town.

Boycott and free riders

Just like Eric, who lives in the Marseille suburbs. “I don’t live in the city but I often went there for walks, restaurants, shopping, exhibitions. I decided it would be over. Restaurants and walks, I can do them where I will be accepted, there are exhibitions elsewhere and purchases I will do either elsewhere or on the Internet. This city doesn’t want me and well I don’t want to give it anything either, it’s simple and clear, ”he clashes. Pascale, another southerner, cannot help tackling this new Marseille ban where “in the port, cruise ships come to pollute more than traffic”.

But this decision, not everyone can take it or resolve to do so. Jean-Charles, a retiree who lives 120 km from Lyon, has no choice. He has to go from time to time to the center of the capital of Gaul to take care of his 96-year-old father. “And to take my 20-year-old son, who has multiple disabilities, there. How should I do it ? More than journeys by VSL and ambulance, it is Social Security that will be happy, ”he writes, wondering if he will be able to benefit from an exemption.

Belio, who commented on our call for testimony, also finds it “shameful”, especially for the inhabitants of Eure, “a medical desert”. “They will no longer be able to go to Rouen for their medical examinations, specialist consultations, operations, etc. There is no Rouen – Evreux public transport to compensate, no parking at the Rouen metro terminals, “he says, thinking of the” little retiree “who with his meager pension does not have the means to switch to the electric car.

Thibault, a resident of Puteaux, in the Hauts-de-Seine, also made his calculations. A fan of public transport and sensitive to ecological issues, he decided to keep his old Renault Clio from 1995, “without Crit’Air at all”, for limited trips. “I will pay a few fines if necessary, fines of 60 euros to make a car profitable for 20,000 euros, that’s 333 fines! If I only take it out once a month, 333 fines at the maximum rate of one per month, that lasts more than 27 years! I therefore validate my absurd reasoning, against a ZFE of candle-end ecology which is just as absurd”, he concludes, with a touch of derision.