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France to boost long-distance bus travel

13 November 2013 - The French competition authority, has taken up an idea from Smart Move partner, the National Federation of Passenger Transport (FNTV), to authorise inter-regional domestic coach service links, which are so far only allowed as part of an international journey. 


For example, if you are a carrier, you may make stops in France to pick up passengers on board, but only on an international journey. The conditions are quite restrictive since these customers should not represent more than half of your travellers and not more than half your turnover on the international line. 

A French Customs authority report states that 20-30% of people who travelled by bus would not have travelled at all if there had not been this cheaper alternative to train, plane or car and that "over 40% of passengers on these lines are less than 26 years old".


The report also points out that establishing bus connections does not require heavy infrastructure, making it easy to expand the network and serve smaller cities. This offer would complement that of the train and its development would create jobs, say transport experts who are advocating for more clarity on the conditions under which the Department of Transport allows coach to cabotage. 


The authority recommends "an overhaul of the administrative authorisation system" and the establishment of an independent administrative authority responsible for the regulation of both rail and road transport. Today, the Department relies on the opinion of the region affected by the opening of a road link. However, regions are particularly anxious not to compromise the economic equilibrium of regional train lines they subsidise. Consideration of the draft law on the "development of regional solidarity and local democracy" in Parliament could be the opportunity to address all of these issues.


Read More (in French)

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