Towns and cities across France hit by mass public transport strike

Commuters in cities across France faced a day of travel misery on Friday after six major transport unions called a one-day strike.

Towns and cities across France hit by mass public transport strike
Tram services in Nice have been badly hi by the strike. Photo: AFP

Parisians however can breathe a sigh of relief as transport in the capital will not be affected.

Nevertheless some 50,000 transport workers in cities across France were expected to down tools on Friday meaning commuters in cities like Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille, Montpellier, Grenoble and Lille could face difficult journeys to and from work.

In all, some 127 strike notices were posted across France, meaning services will be hit in small towns and big cities across the country.

In Lille there were no buses running on Friday although the Metro and Tram were operating normally.

In Marseille there were fewer Metro services than usual and Tram lines 1 and 3 were not operating. In Grenoble there was severe disruption to bus and tram services.

In Nice there were no trams and bus services were also hit.

There was also disruption in Perpignan, Nîmes and Montpellier. There was no tram service in Dijon although disruption to transport in Lyon was minimal.

The strike has been called after talks over pay and working conditions broke down on Monday.

With talks not to be renewed before next February commuters could face further disruption throughout the winter.


Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.