Switzerland boosts train services to France as ‘flight-shaming’ gains momentum

As the anti-flying movement known as “flight shaming” is gaining momentum across Europe, Switzerland is adding new train services to some of its international routes.

Switzerland boosts train services to France as 'flight-shaming' gains momentum
Photo: AFP

The TGV company Lyria, which is owned jointly by the Swiss Federal Railways and France’s SNCF, is adding trains to its high-speed link between major Swiss cities and Paris. 

Beginning on December 15th, 30% more connections will be offered to the French capital from Geneva, Zurich, Lausanne and Basel. That means an increase from the currently available 13,500 seats daily to 18,000 by the end of 2020.

The goal of the expanded service is to shift passangers from short-haul flights to rail. The flight time from Geneva or Zurich to the Charles De Gaulle airport takes just over one hour, while Lyria connects the Swiss cities with Paris’s Lyon station in a little more than three hours.

“I am convinced that the climate issues and the awareness of individuals of their carbon footprint will transform the market”, Fabien Soulet, the CEO of TGV Lyria told Le Monde newspaper.

“In Switzerland, the concern is particularly strong”, he added.

In fact, according to a poll conducted by the Zurich-based Sotomo research institute in September, climate change is among the top concerns for the Swiss voters in the upcoming October 30th elections. The Parliament has decided to start taxing plane tickets — CHF 30 to CHF 120 per flight, depending on the distance travelled.

The goal of the flight shaming movement, which began in Sweden and quickly spread throughout Europe, is to highlight the damage that air transport is inflicting on the environment through the emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Geneva-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said airplanes contribute to 4.9% of human-caused climate change. In Switzerland, 10% of emissions are attributed to the aviation sector.






Member comments

  1. Flight time for short continental ‘hops’ is really an irrelevant consideration, being just a minor component of journey time. Using my experience of travelling from Bergerac to London its 1½hrs flight + 2hrs check in + 1hr to the airport + about 1hr to (only good word to come out of America recently) ‘de-plane’, + 30mins to hit London. It may be true, but to say the flight is 1½hrs is misleading – the actual journey time is 6 hours.
    By train from Bordeaux to London St-Pancras varies but can often be about 7hrs plus journey to Bordeaux of 1½ – so 8½ hrs journey time. It’s getting close to being competitive – sometimes on price but also on comfort and ‘frazzle free’ travel. I can take large suitcases, any amount of liquids and personal possessions, use my laptop, mobile phone, stretch my legs, get a hot coffee when I feel like it, and don’t have to fight crowds of people, at least once on the train. Change is usually easy and if you choose the best root you only need to walk the short distance between the two stations at Lille. In fact at one time one only had to change platforms.
    BUT the train companies both British and French seem set to make it more difficult and less comfortable just when they should be capitalising on the diminishing differences with the competition.

  2. I agree, though OuiGo providing great low cost train travel in France now. Compared to the UK where the train system is just horrendous in every sense, we’re quite spoiled.

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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.