Paris commuters and airport passengers to be hit by train strike

Commuters in Paris and airport passengers face travel misery on Tuesday when a train drivers strike will hit RER rail services.

Paris commuters and airport passengers to be hit by train strike
Photo: AFP

Anyone who uses the RER A and RER B train lines in Paris might need to think about finding an alternative form of transport on Tuesday.

Drivers on the two commuter lines are to hold a 24-walkout on Tuesday meaning services will be drastically reduced, especially at off-peak times.

The strike, which has been called for by four unions to protest over a “dysfunctional” organisation, will run from Tuesday 4am to Wednesday 7am.

On the RER A – Europe's busiest train line – which runs from west to east through the centre of the city and serves the business district of La Defense, only half of normal services will be operating at rush hour.

For off-peak times services will be reduced even further meaning the 1.2 million passengers who use the line each day will face major disruption.

And trains for Cergy and Poissy will terminate at La Defense.

It will be a similar story for the RER B which serves both Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly airports and carries 875,000 passengers each day.

During rush hour only 50 percent of trains will operate, and for off-peak times only a quarter of services will be running.

All passengers will have to change trains at Gare du Nord, so airport passengers need to take note. 

There is at least good news for Metro passengers with services set to run as normal throughout the day on all lines.

Services on Lines 1, 4, 13 and 14 will be increased to ease the pressure on the RER services.

Bus and tram services will also run as usual.



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.