Tobacconists in five French regions will have permission to sell train tickets before the end of the summer, France's national rail operator SNCF has confirmed.
The agreement, signed in Paris on Monday night, will see the scheme launched in five test regions – Burgundy-Franche-Comté, Grand Est, Normandy, Pays-de-la-Loire and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.
This means that rail passengers will be able to buy tickets for regional TER trains and TGVs at tabacs which have been equipped with a special app and ticket printer.
The tickets will be in the form of a receipt with a QR code unlike the large cardboard tickets you get at stations.
“There will be a code which will be scanned either by the controller or at the boarding gate, so there is no need to pick up a ticket at a machine.This is a very simple system – for the tobacconist and for the traveller,” said President of the SNCF Guillaume Pépy.
No doubt the SNCF will also see it as a useful way of dealing with the growing anger over the length of queues at train stations, which unions say is down to the fact that the organisation has been closing ticket booths.
Meanwhile the tobacconists see this as an effective way to protect businesses which are suffering from the downturn in cigarette sales.