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France to add all-you-can-ride ticket


France will soon copy Germany's all-you-can-ride pass for use on regional and commuter trains as well as city transit nationwide, but President Macron's support for the plan still leaves a lot of details to be worked out.

Germany's €49-a-month Deutschlandticket has been proclaimed successful in getting more passengers off the road and onto public transport, benefiting the environment as well as traffic, as well as giving travelers, including visitors, a bit of a hedge against inflation.

A major issue for France to solve before it can contemplate a start date or even a price is who will bear the cost. In Germany, agreements were hammered out that see the Federal government picking up half the cost of the needed subsidy with state governments providing the rest of what is not covered by the income from tickets. That's a total of around €3 billion a year.

Macron endorsed the plan in an interview, saying “I am in favour of creating a Rail Pass based on the existing model in Germany. All the regions that are ready to do it with the State.”

He was followed up by Transport Minister Clément Beaune, who said he hoped a pass would be available by next summer. He told a France 2 interviewer that "we want a very simple system, open to all, which allows unlimited travel throughout France, for a single, low price" and that it would be “similar to what the Germans are doing.”

As was the case initially in Germany, not all the regional authorities who are responsible for France's regional train and transit operations are on board and some are openly wary about a mandate for them to subsidize the pass. Many regions also have discount programs of their own which would need to be incorporated into or replaced by any new national plan.

But, next summer is still quite a way off, and hope springs eternal...

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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