What better way to promote eco-friendly train travel than giving away tickets to the young? That is exactly what the French and German heads of state did on Sunday (January 22), on the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Élysée Treaty of reconciliation between the two nations, launching the "first Franco-German train ticket for young people".
In a joint statement following the meeting the two leaders pledged to support "efforts to introduce a first bi-national joint ticket for young people,” due for implementation this summer.
Split down the middle
The 60,000 free train tickets will be for travel between France and Germany and will be available exclusively for young people, half of whom will be French and the other half German.
The tickets are expected to be for people under the age of 27.
Prior to the official announcement of this initiative the Élysée Palace let it be known that the fine tuning of the package “has yet to be defined by the ministries of transport, which are working on it together."
"The idea is that young people on each side of the Rhine can easily go to the other country," Clément Beaune, the French Transport Minister, told the media. But several details have yet to be hammered out with his opposite number, the German Minister of Transport, Volker Wissing.
Dès cet été, 60 000 billets seront offerts aux jeunes de moins de 27 ans pour voyager en train en France et en Allemagne ! https://t.co/Q4q29uzyAs— Clement Beaune (@CBeaune) January 22, 2023
High speed link
What is for sure is that the two states have pledged the necessary cash for the scheme, which has been set up by the SNCF and Deutsche Bahn.
The French ministry of transport hinted that the tickets will be handed out via a lottery system and at this stage it is a “one-off” initiative. "But why not repeat it every year if it works? All this is under discussion," a ministry source told HuffPost.
Paris and Berlin also pledged support for the development of a direct high-speed rail link between the two capitals as well as a night train connecting them.
The two railroad companies had announced in May that a Paris-Berlin TGV would start in December 2023. SNCF and Deutsche Bahn have been running high-speed trains, TGV and ICE, between France and Germany since the opening of the first section of the Paris-Strasbourg high-speed line in June 2007.
The additional initiative of the permanent restoration of the Paris-Berlin night train line as well as the high-speed train linking the two capitals is all part of a grander scheme to facilitate mobility between our two countries by rail rather than air, said the French transport ministry.
In November, Mr Beaune and his counterpart signed a joint communiqué stating the need to "propose attractive offers" between the two countries in order to "convince even more people to travel by train.
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