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How things change in France from May 2016

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How things change in France from May 2016
Photo: AFP
09:30 CEST+02:00
From buying train tickets to the cost of "notaires", the month of May means more changes in France.

SNCF to charge for ticket cancellations

One of the main changes that will affect people in France concerns train travellers.

From May 1st rail operator SNCF have implemented a change to their ticket cancellation and changes policy which will bring an end to a system whereby passengers could make last-minute alterations free of charge.

Changes can still be made free of charge up to 30 days before the date of travel but after this deadline passengers will have cough up a €5 surcharge to change their tickets.

That charge will rise to 40 percent of the cost of the ticket if changes are made within 24 hours of the scheduled travel time.

However there will be maximum fees of €15 set for TGV trains and €12 for Intercité trains, per journey, so a change to both legs of the journey will cost €30, if made at the last minute.

The aim is to fill more seats on long distance services with SNCF claiming the introduction of surcharges will allow them to offer discount tickets closer to the travel date.

The rail operator wants to discourage the practice of people buying cheap tickets well in advance but then making last minute changes.

For those with SNCF discount cards,  the penalties will be less.

Roaming charges capped in Europe

If you are a frequent traveller around Europe, the cost of using your mobile phone should become a lot cheaper after the introduction of caps on roaming charges.

Telecom companies can only charge a maximum of €0.06 per minute on top of the domestic price for calls, €0.02 for texts, and €0.06 per megabyte of data.

Accepting a call will be capped at €0.012 per minute.

Fees for notaires cut

Anyone using a notary in France should benefit for a slight cut in the cost of their services.

For example in the Ile de France area this cut will be around 1.33 percent for property sales, 1.45 percent for the deeds of a loan and 1.36 percent for inheritance declarations.

When it comes to the sale of certain properties or land, the fees for a notary will not exceed 10 percent of the value of the property.

Essentially that means that anyone buying a cheap property, including a parking place or storage or land for a small amount should see big reductions in tariffs, but for those buying flats in Paris the savings will be negligible.

Driving theory test changes

From Tuesday May 2nd anyone taking their driving theory test will have to respond to a raft of new questions.

Candidates will be shown videos instead of still photos and each person will be given their own set of individual questions.

The tests have also been opened up to outside third-parties so, in theory, it will be easier to get a place and driving examiners can concentrate on the practical tests.

Price of gas falls again

More good news for anyone who uses gas in France.

As in recent months the tariffs by provider Engie will continue to fall, with the average drop on the previous month being 0.61 percent.

Although for those who only use gas power for cooking will see prices fall by around 0.2 percent and for those whose homes are heated by gas the savings will obviously be more marked with prices dropping by 0.6 percent.

Obviously those customers who signed up to a fixed price arrangement won't be affected by the fall in prices.

 

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