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No Train? No Problem!

No Train? No Problem!

How to get around in France despite the SNCF strike

In response to the SNCF reform planned by the French government, the railway unions announced a strike as of Tuesday, April 3rd. The schedule will be an alternation of two days of strike followed by three “normal” days, until 28 June 2018 (full schedule at the bottom of the page). It is no longer possible to book tickets for the strike days of April. SNCF also reserves the right to suspend ticket sales for the months of May and June.

This promises a few instances of scrambling in French train stations in the coming months: Whether you’re travelling alone or with family and friends, the last place you want to spend your vacation is sitting on your luggage at the train station, while you’re on hold trying to call the SNCF hotline and trying to make last minute arrangements. Yikes!

However, the absence of TGV or TER should not spoil your plans for getaways or return home from the long weekends that are approaching. No train? No problem!

So how do you get around in France during the SNCF strike? We’re here to give you some tips:

Photo Credit: Isilines

 

THE BUS :

It is the closest alternative to the train.

Since summer 2015, you can travel the French roads with long-distance buses from companies such as Ouibus, Isilines or Flixbus.

Much cheaper than the train, the network of French bus companies serves a large part of the cities already served by SNCF “in normal times”.

Being so young, the French bus market offers a relatively new fleet of vehicles. The buses of the three main companies have all the comforts you may need for a few hours of transport: wifi, electrical and USB sockets, comfortable seats, etc.

Safe, the bus will allow you to get to your destination for a fraction of the price of a TGV ticket. Of course, the travel time could be a little longer, but will allow you to admire the landscape. The French top-notch highway system will definitely make this a smooth ride, if not smoother than the train, which is notorious for delays.

In addition to serving French cities, many bus companies will also take you to more exotic countries for only a few euros. Go take “una cerveza” in Barcelona from 60 € (round trip from Paris) or spend the weekend in London for a Champions League game for as little as 30 € for a round trip from Paris.

Using Busbud, you can compare all the best deals from the top bus companies in one place. You can see what other travellers who took that bus had to say, and make sure you pick the best possible bus for you!

Whether you are a student looking for low fares to travel to France or Europe, a professional who needs to work while traveling, or just a passenger looking for a comfortable and safe transportation option, the bus is your safest bet!

The +: Cheap, safe, comfortable, new vehicles, wifi, electrical and USD sockets on board.

The -:  Travel time sometimes longer than the train.

IN FRANCE

RouteNumber of departures per dayAverage price
Paris - Lyon38
22€
Paris - Lille3712€
Paris - Toulouse1225€
Paris - Rennes2318€
Paris - Bordeaux1926€
Clermont-Ferrand - Lyon516€

INTERNATIONAL ROUTES

Route
Number of departures per dayAverage price
Paris - Bruxelles4018€
Paris - Londres2826€
Paris - Amsterdam2525€
Toulouse - Barcelone526€
Paris - Madrid850€

 

Photo Credit : www.splitshire.com

 

CARPOOLING :

In recent years, carpooling has become more and more widespread in France, especially through companies, such as Blablacar, Karzoo or Covoiturage-Libre.

Sometimes cheaper than the train or bus, carpooling is able to accommodate passengers departing from anywhere.

If you like discussions and meeting people, this is probably the best option for you. We cannot count the friendships forged by carpool trips.

If on the other hand, sociability is not your strongest suit, you might want to pass on this option.

The +: Cheap, easily accessible, social.

The -: Trips sometimes longer than the train, comfort depends on the car,

 

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

THE PLANE :

Okay, we have to admit, we mention the plane to try to be as exhaustive as possible, but you have to admit that if you had opted for the train in the first place, the chances of the plane being the best alternative are slim.

Still, if your plans were to go to European destinations more than 1,000 kilometers away, the plane might be a good option. Low cost airlines like Ryan Air or Easy Jet will take you from Paris to Porto in 2 hours, without going through the 18h in a bus.

The + : Fast, comfortable
The – : More expensive that all other means of transport, can be hard and expensive to get to the airport, seats are generally crammed, WiFi and extra amenities, if available, come at an extra charge.

 

As a last resort: YOUR CAR

Finally, if you have exhausted all other options are and you own a vehicle, this may be the only way to get to your destination.

If you take your car, please drive carefully and take regular breaks during your journey.

Our advice as travel experts is the following: be environmentally conscious, and take public transport. 😉

Calendar of strike days:

Taken from https://en.oui.sncf/en/train/strike