France will launch its own version of a discounted monthly rail pass after the success of a similar scheme in Germany to encourage more sustainable travel habits.
Transport Minister Clément Beaune revealed the plans during an interview with national TV channel France 2 after President Emmanuel Macron had earlier announced the French Government’s intention to introduce the idea.
The pass, which will cost €49 ($52.5) a month, will allow travellers of any age to access unlimited travel on the TER regional trains and intercity trains, in the style of Germany’s Deutschlandticket and may also include local travel by bus, metro and trams.
Beaune said: “It will be simple: French people, irrespective of their age, can buy this pass and have unlimited travel on an intercity or TER for a flat, inexpensive price.”
Though some local government officials have questioned the finances behind the idea, others have also expressed support, including the president of the Grand Est Region Franck Leroy, who highlighted his region’s own success in implementing a similar idea.
Leroy said in a post online: “Region Grand Est is ready to work alongside Clément Beaune and the other regions to study the methods of implementing PasseRail for the railway, daily mobility, the climate and the future.”
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The move to encourage rail travel follows France’s ambitious ban on all domestic flight routes where an alternative rail journey is possible in under two and a half hours, which was part of the country’s citizens’ climate convention.
Tickets like the one available in Germany have also been praised for their climate-friendly thinking, with climate charity Greenpeace calling for wider implementation of the idea “at the right price level”.
However, though France has been praised for its investment in high-speed rail, the TGV line will not be covered by the travel pass, matching the conditions of the Deutschlandticket.