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Let the train take the strain: for €1

Authorities in Languedoc-Roussillon plan to subsidise cost of TER tickets in the region at a cost of €3.5m a year

RAIL travel in Languedoc-Roussillon has become much cheaper - with tickets on TER lines in the region now available for €1, if they are booked online.

The scheme has been trialled since 2011 on a number of routes, and now has been rolled out across the entire local rail network, meaning it is possible to travel from Perpignan to Montpellier for less than the cost of a cup of coffee.

There is a catch. To keep costs down, the €1 tickets are only available online via the regional TER website. Anyone buying a ticket at the station will have to pay the full face value - which, for a ticket for a train from Perpignan to Montpellier for example, is €23.

Former Languedoc-Roussillon region president Christian Bourquin - who previously introduced €1 bus travel in the region - declared the cut-price tickets a “revolution in public transport”. It is expected that the scheme will increase the number of people taking the regional TER service, which is currently severely underused.

Unveiling the scheme, Mr Bourquin said: “My ambition is not to see a single empty train.”

Authorities expect to sell about 460,000 €1 tickets in 2015 - or 1,300 tickets a day - at an additional cost to the region’s taxpayers of about €3.5million.

The region already pays €106million annually to SNCF.

Mr Bourquin’s successor as regional council president Damien Alary has already proposed extending the offer to allow travel between Montpellier and Toulouse for just €1 ahead of the unification of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions later this year.

The news comes shortly after environment minister Segolene Royal criticised train operator SNCF for increasing the price of rail travel by 2.6%.

Also read: London-Marseille Eurostar tickets on sale

Photo: Isabelle Blanchemain

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