It’s only becoming more convenient to travel by train, and not just because of the abundance of new high-speed services, sleeper trains and picturesque routes across Europe. Rail travel, along with becoming more efficient, is also becoming significantly more affordable.
After Germany relaunched their deutschlandticket and Portugal announced an incredibly budget-friendly rail pass, France is the latest country offering travellers a super-cheap monthly rail ticket.
Like Portugal and Germany’s respective schemes, the French pass will cost only €49 (£42, $53). Given that this includes unlimited travel across TER regional services, intercity trains, and possibly even local bus, metro and tram travel, it sounds like an absolute steal!
If you make only a handful of regional journeys each month, you’ll be saving money. The pass will be valid on TER routes such as Bordeaux to Arcachon, which usually costs around €15 (£12.85, $16), and Marseille to Toulon, which costs €17 (£14.60 , $18.25).
But the journeys where travellers will make some serious savings are the longer-distance routes. Take Paris to Toulouse, for example, a route which – when booked on the day – would set you back around €94 (£80.50, $100).
Rail travel is seeing an overhaul not just in France but across Europe, largely to encourage people to opt for more sustainable modes of transport.
The announcement of the French travel pass comes after several of the country’s short-haul flights routes were banned, and Transport Minister Clément Beaune proposed a minimum flight price policy to the EU.
Research showed that an alarmingly small proportion of flyers take a huge proportion of flights in Europe. Along with the new restrictions on flight routes and prices, the travel pass could be a major step towards reducing travel emissions.
The deutschlandticket has been hailed as the ‘biggest public transport reform in German history,’ by authorities, according to euronews. What’s more, VDV, a German Transport Association, estimates that 1.8 million tonnes of carbon emissions were saved between July and August 2023, thanks to people using the pass.
Hopefully, the announcement of the travel pass will help encourage those who fly often to instead opt for the train in France, too. It’s set to be available from summer 2024.
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