From next Monday the first 100 people aged over 70 who hand back their driving licence to the authorities can get a half price annual senior citizen public transport card – meaning it will cost them 200 francs instead of 400 francs.
In addition, the three quickest can get it completely free if they turn up at the canton’s vehicle service offices between 11am and 1pm on Monday March 5th, reported Le Matin on Friday.
The plan was devised by Geneva cantonal minister Luc Barthassat in order to help seniors make the “difficult decision” to give up their driving licence, said the paper.
But the measure, which will cost the canton 20,000 francs, has not been universally appreciated.
Joël Goldstein, director of Pro Senectute, which works to support the quality of life of elderly people, told the paper he understood the idea but said the money could be better spent on an awareness campaign targeting all 41,000 70-89-year-olds in the canton, not just financially incentivizing one hundred of them.
“It shouldn’t be about encouraging seniors to give up their permit for financial gain, but making them aware that giving up their licence is about being a responsible citizen,” he said.
Geneva is one of the most heavily congested cities in the world.
A recent survey found that drivers in the city spend an average of 52 hours in slow traffic every year, or 16 percent of their overall driving time.
The federal government has committed to enlarging Geneva’s bypass motorway by 2015 to cope with increasing traffic, while plans for a bridge over the lake have long been touted and may – eventually – come to pass.