France to launch Germany-style bargain transport pass

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France to launch Germany-style bargain transport pass
The logo of French national rail operator SNCF is seen on a regional TER train at Gare Montparnasse train station in Paris (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

France will next summer launch a bargain-price monthly pass valid on certain trains nationwide, directly copying a hugely successful move in Germany to encourage greener transport, a minister said on Thursday.


The Pass Rail would cost around €49 a month and allow users unlimited travel nationwide on TER regional trains and intercity trains, Transport Minister Clement Beaune told France 2 television.

President Emmanuel Macron had said on Monday that France's regional authorities had agreed to the move, which follows limitations on domestic air travel imposed earlier this year.

READ MORE: Factcheck: Is France really banning cheap flights?

"It will be simple. The French -- irrespective of their age -- can buy this pass and have unlimited travel on an intercity or TER for a flat, inexpensive price," Beaune said.

Beaune acknowledged that the idea directly follows that of the "Deutschland-Ticket" in neighbouring Germany which was launched in May and allows unlimited travel on regional and local transport for €49 a month.


"The ideal is to have something a little bit like what the Germans and other European countries have done... to encourage train use," said Beaune.

He said the pass would be launched from the summer with a price similar to that of the German system.

The German version does not include high-speed German ICE trains and France's high-speed TGV will also not be included in the French pass.

Beaune said "if possible" the French pass would also cover local transport by metro, bus and tram within cities.

Germany's pass, which is equally funded by the German state and its regions, is expected to cost authorities three billion euros annually up until 2025.

Macron's move has already raised eyebrows in some quarters with Franck Dhersin, vice-president of the northern Hauts-de France region in charge of transport, saying that while the "president often has good ideas... it's your idea and you can finance it."

In another widely-publicised move encouraging green travel, Austrian rail operator OeBB said Wednesday it would run a night train between Paris and Berlin starting in December.

READ MORE: Berlin-Paris night train to return after nine years, says Austrian rail operator


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