French train operator SNCF launches new season ticket for remote workers

The French train operator SNCF has introduced a new travel pass aimed at workers in France who only go into the office two or three times a week, with passengers able to save 40 percent on travel.

French train operator SNCF launches new season ticket for remote workers

The forfait annuel télétravail (annual remote working plan) was launched on September 1st, and can be used on TGV and Intercité trains, but nor local trains or suburban lines.

It allows users to reserve up to 250 journeys on the same line, and promises a 40 percent price reduction compared to a regular annual plan, which allows for 450 journeys.

Unlike the regular season ticket, the new offer for those who work from home two or three times a week is not valid on regional TER trains, meaning many commuters will not be eligible. And while SNCF jointly runs the RER Paris commuter trains to the suburbs alongside RATP, these do not fall under the scheme either, meaning it is mainly destined for those who have a longer journey to work.

Furthermore, it is only valid Monday to Thursday, whereas the full season ticket can be used any day of the week, including the weekend.

For those who do qualify, however, the savings could be significant. The new ticket would cost €331 per month when commuting between Paris and Rennes, compared to €552 for the classic ticket. Those travelling between Paris and Bordeaux would pay €348 instead of €580. You can calculate the price of a season ticket here.

The French government had previously recommended those in both the public and private sectors work from home at least two days a week. That recommendation is no longer included in official guidelines, but many companies have reached agreements with their workers for them to continue splitting their time between their homes and the office.

The rise in remote working has resulted in a rush to buy property in the suburbs and countryside, with property prices rising in rural areas but falling in Paris. If you’re considering moving because you’re no longer needed in the office everyday, and want to know if you’ll qualify for the reduced season ticket, you can consult a map of TGV lines here, and Intercité lines here.

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Eurostar faces severe disruption at Christmas as staff vote to strike

High-speed train operator Eurostar will face security staff walkouts that will "severely" disrupt busy Christmas services, their trade union said on Wednesday.

Eurostar faces severe disruption at Christmas as staff vote to strike

Eurostar, which links London with Paris and Brussels, is the latest firm hit by strikes as salaries fail to keep pace with rocketing inflation in a cost-of-living crisis.

The RMT rail union said in a statement that members working as Eurostar security voted overwhelmingly to strike on December 16th, 18th, 22nd and 23rd.

“The strike action will severely affect Eurostar services and travel plans for people over the December period,” it added.

More than 100 staff had voted “emphatically” to reject a pay offer that was below inflation.

The RMT added that the security workers are employed by facilities contractor Mitie.

“Security staff are essential to the running of Eurostar and it is disgraceful they are not being paid a decent wage,” said RMT general secretary Mick Lynch.

“I urge Mitie and Eurostar to come to a negotiated settlement with RMT as soon as possible.”

Britain faces a grim winter of discontent this year as strikes multiply across public and private sectors as pay is eroded by surging consumer prices.

Ambulance workers on Wednesday joined nurses in voting to go on strike ahead of Christmas.

Numerous other staff, from lawyers to airport ground personnel, have also held strikes this year as Britain contends with its worst cost-of-living crisis in generations.

UK inflation accelerated in October to a 41-year peak at 11.1 percent on runaway energy and food bills.