« Two months without my car » A hundred people in Grenoble take up the challenge

sep article

FOCUS – Two months without a car to test alternative modes of transport, such is the challenge taken up by 100 people in Grenoble at the initiative of the Koolicar company, in partnership with the Maif, the Metro and the SMTC. An experience that aims to make motorists less addicted to four wheels.




Traffic jam near La Porte de France in Grenoble. © Elodie Rummelhard - placegrenet.fr

Traffic jam near La Porte de France in Grenoble. © Elodie Rummelhard – placegrenet.fr

Never without my car ? Based in Versailles, this is Koolicar’s chal­lenge : to convince moto­rists to give up using their cars, in favour of cycling, using public trans­port and even using car sha­ring, for two months, as part of ope­ra­tion “without my car”, which takes place from 1st October to 3rd December, 2016, in Grenoble.




Car sha­ring, is Koolicar’s niche. Although the ope­ra­tion is to teach, it is not “anti-car”, but more a ques­tion of the need to use a per­so­nal vehicle. “We’re not saying that you should never use a car,” says Élisa Desgranges, head of the ope­ra­tion, “but to share vehicles and in so doing, to opti­mize their use, so that there is a mini­mum num­ber of vehicles on the roads of France.”




Travel free for two months



Last year, a “without my car” ope­ra­tion was orga­ni­zed in Bordeaux and Niort, in part­ner­ship with the Maif, which wai­ved the cost of vehicle insu­rance during the two months of immo­bi­li­za­tion ; a rene­wed part­ner­ship for 2016, but this time, in Dijon and Grenoble.


Dans les locaux de Métrovélo, les fameux cycles jaunes attendent les automobilistes repentis. © Florent Mathieu - Place Gre'net

Inside the pre­mises of Metrovelo, the famous yel­low bicycles wai­ting for repen­tant moto­rists. © Florent Mathieu – Place Gre’net


The Metro and the SMTC (Grenoble urban public trans­port autho­rity, en), also part­ners, will give the volun­teers free access to public trans­port during the two months of the ope­ra­tion, as well as the use of metro­ve­los. Participants will also be offe­red two months of free par­king for their vehicles in the Vallier-Catane car park, which is not negli­gible.


The goal ? To regis­ter “in a glo­bal mobi­lity chan­ging dyna­mic”, accor­ding to Élisa Desgranges, and also to col­lect feed­back from the people par­ti­ci­pa­ting in the ope­ra­tion, both during and after the two month per­iod.




Everyday superheroes ?



To sup­port its mes­sage, Koolicar – not without humour – used the idea of the super­hero : is it heroic to live car-free, when you live in the city ? “We didn’t want to make people feel guilty, by saying it is wrong to take your car”, explai­ned the mana­ger.


Une affiche héroïque, et volontairement kitsch pour l'opération « sans ma voiture »,. DR

A deli­be­ra­tely kitsch, heroic pos­ter. ARR

“The approach is to chal­lenge people to play the game and have fun. Of course, it is a lit­tle kit­schy, in the second degree, but playing on guilt is not the way to make people want to take part !

Guillaume, who lives in the Europole neigh­bo­rhood and works at Alpexpo, counts among the 100 people in Grenoble par­ti­ci­pa­ting in the “without my car” ope­ra­tion. “I did the jour­ney every day by car, on the main roads, and every mor­ning I hit the Rondeau traf­fic jams..”, admits the 26 year old from Grenoble, who is “envi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive.”


Even though he doesn’t feel like a super­hero, he notices the asto­nish­ment of his co-wor­kers, sur­pri­sed that he volun­tee­red to be depri­ved of his car for two months.




Volunteers from 18 to over 80 years of age



It was through social net­wor­king that he got wind of the ope­ra­tion and deci­ded to apply. Logically, it’s through Twitter that he shares his impres­sions. For now, he favours the metro­velo to get to work, but does not exclude taking public trans­port when the wea­ther becomes less cle­ment.


Sur Twitter, Guillaume narre son aventure de nouveau cycliste en ville. DR

On Twitter, Guillaume nar­rates his new city cycling adven­ture. ARR


“The objec­tive”, pre­cises Guillaume, “is not to give up my car. I think that I’ll still need it from time to time. Really, the idea is to limit using it, as much as pos­sible, and to maxi­mize tra­vel­ling by bicycle, kee­ping the car for essen­tial jour­neys only.”


But, at the age of 26, and with no dependent family, wouldn’t it be easier to give up the car ? “We tried to encou­rage people with many dif­ferent pro­files,” says Élisa Desgranges, inclu­ding seve­ral fami­lies, some large, and people of dif­ferent ages, ran­ging from 18 to over 80. Koolicar had a dif­fi­cult choice, having recei­ved nearly 250 appli­ca­tions for 100 avai­lable places in Grenoble.




Will they sell their cars ?



Naturally, each volun­teer is free to put an end to the expe­rience and to reclaim their vehicle whe­ne­ver they wish. Will the good­will last into November ? Last year, only one per­son left the ope­ra­tion along the way, but for pro­fes­sio­nal rea­sons.


What about those who go all the way ? They can col­lect their car, or will be offe­red help if they decide to sell. Guillaume will not sell his car, but, after just a few days, is already thin­king about buying his own bike.




Florent Mathieu




Traduction from Speak English Center

Phone : +33 4 76 50 39 79

1 ave­nue du Vercors, 38600 Fontaine FRANCE


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