It was a sad day indeed when free bus travel ended at midnight on January 2. I had thought, over-optimistically, as it happened, that free public transport was a concept that the Principality would embrace as a central part of its ambitious plans for a green future.

However, the free experiment did not segue – a word I dislike – into a new age of no-cost popular transportation. This would have undoubtedly reduced the use of motor cars and contributed to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, which we all know are harmful to health.

Visitors we hosted in recent months expressed admiration for the Monaco free-bus initiative. It made us proud to live in Beausoleil, so ‘green’ by association.

Monaco’s Government was evidently unhappy that some bus users had been taking advantage of the service by sometimes travelling only one stop. In an interim report on this bold experiment the word used for these hop-on hop-off exploiters of the system was “opportunistic.”

So the surprising decision was taken to end free buses and go back to paid-for travel, greater congestion, and more poisonous fumes.


If you think it was because Monaco can’t afford free buses, I would have to use that time-honoured phrase: “Don’t make me laugh!”

My thesis is that the Government has got so much of a bee in its bonnet about ‘our digital future’ that the experiment was destroyed and abandoned in homage to the digitisation we are leaned on to embrace.

There is something called Monapass that my digitally- turned-on friends claim is the only way to go. Monapass allows you to park your car, ride a red bike, and pay for your bus ticket.

Monapass is an App. I don’t have an App and thank you very much I don’t want one. An App is a tool promoted by political and economic elites in order to check on our movements, our habits, our health and vaccination status and, crucially, our expenditures and mundane spending habits. It’s promoted as a convenience for users, in order to lull us all into easy compliance but involves hours of completing all the information the Fat Controller needs and a certain amount of technical know-how.

Anyone who has an ounce of free-spiritedness about her should burn their Apps immediately.

Ah, not possible. Once the authorities have your data there’s no letting go.

The announcement that the huge physical ticket machines will be dismantled – at what costs to the environment – adds evidence to my critical theory.

I refuse to play along and sign up for the App. Instead, I have reacted by choosing the only two alternatives for each journey I make in Monaco. I either walk, or if it’s more than one bus stop I choose the other option. I get the SUV out and use that to go to the Automobile Club for lunch.

Any views expressed or implied by the author of Monte-Carlo Diary are his alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the publishers