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Paris launches ‘Navigo Easy’ card to replace emblematic paper tickets on city’s métro

Pierre Verdy, AFP file picture | An employee of Paris métro operator RATP sells the traditional paper tickets to a traveller.

Paris on Wednesday launched “Navigo Easy”, a rechargeable plastic card that is set to phase out the French capital’s emblematic rectangular cardboard tickets that have been used on the city’s métro for nearly 120 years.

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The travel pass, which can be compared with London’s Oyster Card, costs €2 and is aimed at tourists and occasional métro users in a bid to completely phase out the paper tickets by 2021.

"It's over, the days of tickets that become demagnetised in your pocket. It's over, the dozens of euros lost due to tickets from another era," Valerie Pécresse, the head of public transport in Paris and its wider region, was quoted by the French daily Le Parisien at a press conference on the eve of the Navigo Easy card's launch.

The rectangular paper tickets with a magnetic strip down the back have been synonymous with the Parisian métro since it opened in 1900. But with 550 million of the tickets being printed each year, they are also detrimental to the environment.

“A ticket thrown on the ground takes a year to decompose,” Pécresse said. “We have been late when it comes to [adopting sustainable options for] the ticketing system.”

A rechargeable travel pass, known as the Navigo card, has existed for monthly Paris public transport users since the early 2000s.

As a first step, the Navigo Easy card will only be available for the Paris Métro, but will gradually be rolled out to cover the whole public transport network in the Île-de-France region. In time, users will also be able to top up their cards via their smartphones instead of using machines or counter service.

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