Last week, it was my privilege to chair a half-day webinar on Boosting Cycling Activity in the UK and EU. One of the speakers was Philip Amaral, Director of Policy and Development at the European Cyclists' Federation. In his very informative talk, he made reference to a scheme that the City of Brussels is running to incentivise people to get rid of their cars and use other forms of transport instead.
La prime Bruxell’Air offers people between €500 and €900 to be spent on cycle, scooter or car share, taxi or taxi-bus journeys, and even on cycles and accessories. It sounds like a great scheme, the likes of which more (most? all?) cities should be considering.
The scheme has been advertised using this rather marvellous 90-second video above, featuring a bloke who starts on horseback, channelling Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheart. Entirely reasonably, the soundtrack and the subtitles are in French. So, in order to help you enjoy it more, and although my own French is far from perfect, I thought I’d offer the following translation.
We’ve always been told that to have a car was to have freedom.
But when we have to suffer from traffic jams, insurance, fuel, fines, the MoT, parking regulations...
Can we really call that being free?
(Driver shakes his head)
But what if freedom meant having opportunities?
The opportunity to choose your mode of transport according to the weather.
The opportunity to change your mind as quickly as the weather… and to take cover in a bus.
The chance to go shopping on a cycle, if you need something small; or a shared car, if you need something large.
The chance to be driven if you don’t want to drive, or aren’t able to drive.
The chance to be like the heroes of your childhood, or to be the heroes of their childhood.
Yes, we’ve always been told that to have a car was to be free.
But what if true freedom was to get rid of it?
Dump your car and take advantage of the Bruxell’Air allowance.
John Dales, Director