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UK-France ferries, plane veers off Paris runway: Eight travel updates

We also look at Monaco’s trial of free buses, a new Bordeaux-airport tram service and how a train passenger was fined when her phone died during ticket check

We look at the stories affecting travel to, from and around France this week Pic: Dmitry Chulov / olrat / Nigel Wiggins / Song_about_summer / Shutterstock

We look at the stories affecting travel to, from and around France this week. 

DFDS retains Dieppe-Newhaven crossing 

DFDS Seaways is to continue to operate the Dieppe-Newhaven ferry crossing until at least 2027 after the Seine-Maritime maritime prefecture renewed its right to run the service. 

Two DFDS ferries, Seven Sisters and Côte d’Albâtre, operate on this route each day, and are capable of transporting 600 passengers. 

Jean Claude Charlo, head of French organisation at DFDS, said: “[This] announcement secures hundreds of local jobs and will enable us to pursue our ambitious plans to invest in the route.

“We have a very clear vision for the future of the route, and we are excited by the opportunity to realise this over the next five years.

"In addition to new branding and a new schedule, which will increase frequency during the key summer period, we will also invest heavily in the ships, introducing a new driver concept onboard and improved duty-free area. We have a very clear vision for the future of the route, and we are excited by the opportunity to realise this over the next five years.”

Student fined on train when phone died during ticket check 

A student was fined on a TER train between Toulouse and Lavaur when her phone died as her ticket was being checked. 

Noémie, 21, had her ticket stored in the SNCF app, but could not get to it before the phone switched off, and she received a €100 fine.  

“The ticket inspector noticed that I was panicking. He told me that I should appeal against the fine at the ticket office in my town,” Noémie told La Dépêche

“However, when I got there they told me that it would not be possible because it was an electronic ticket. I would have needed to show my ID card during the check to be able to do that, but no one asked me to.

“The inspector swindled me by saying that I could appeal. He knew very well that it wasn’t possible.” 

The student has lodged a complaint with SNCF but has been told that she must still pay the fine. 

“I am a student and I do not have much money, so why is SNCF sinking to this level of pettiness?” she said.

Italian air traffic control strike affects French flights 

An air traffic control strike in Italy is affecting some flights to and from France today (October 21).  

Ryanair has announced that more than 600 flights have been cancelled, affecting 110,000 passengers. 

EasyJet has had to cancel its flights between Paris-Orly and Rome, for example, and is also facing a pilot walk-out between 11:00 and 15:00, although the impact of this has not yet been revealed.

Vueling flights from Paris-Orly to Rome and Milan have also been cancelled, along with Volotea’s Italy-bound flights from Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon and Nantes.

Air France, Brussels Airlines, KLM, British Airways, Aer Lingus, TAP Air Portugal and Lufthansa are among the other airlines affected.

Bordeaux Airport tram launch put back to spring 2023

An extension to Bordeaux’s tram line A, which will reach Mérignac airport, will be opened in March or April, the city hall has said. 

The new section of the line will be 5km long and include five different stops.

Work on the line has been delayed by the Covid crisis and supply shortages caused by the war in Ukraine. 

The extension will eventually mean that it will be possible to get between the airport and the Place Pey Berland in 35 minutes. 

It was initially set to open this autumn. 

Plane comes off runway at Paris-Orly 

A Fly Amelia plane arriving at Paris-Orly from Rodez came off the runway and into the grass at around 19:30 last night (October 20) during heavy rain.

There were three crew members and 39 passengers inside the aircraft. No one was hurt. 

The runway was closed but this did not cause significant disruption to other flights. An inquiry is ongoing to determine the exact cause.

Monaco trials free bus services 

People living in or visiting Monaco will be able to benefit from free bus journeys until November 27, as part of a trial aiming to reduce traffic, greenhouse gas emissions and eventually, to launch a scheme designed to improve the network. 

Monaco has 38,000 residents, and an additional 100,000 people arrive in the principality each day to work or as tourists. This makes for heavy traffic within its 2km² area. 

The trial means that people can travel on all of Compagnie des Autobus de Monaco’s (CAM) seven day lines, two night lines and port shuttle service for free.

By encouraging people to take the bus, the principality hopes to reduce the number of vehicles that circulate daily by 10,000 (or 5%), and collect data on the bus stops which are most commonly used so as to offer a better service in future.

The scheme will cost the principality €600,000, with an additional €50,000 for the associated advertising campaign.

Transavia to maintain Paris-Pau flights next summer

Low-cost airline Transavia will continue to offer two daily flights between Paris-Orly and Pau next summer, despite rumours that the service was to be cancelled. 

Transavia is the only airline operating on this route, although there are other flights to Charles de Gaulle.

Pau Airport has said that 67,000 people have travelled on the route since the beginning of this year. 

Criticism over Le Havre-Marseille train timetable change

TGV trains will from December 11 no longer depart from Le Havre for Marseille in the morning, but will instead go in the afternoon, because of a timetable change on the TGV Inoui network. 

Trains will now leave Le Havre at 15:41 rather than 07:49, arriving in Marseille Saint Charles at 22:24.

Journeys from Marseille to Le Havre will, on the other hand, set off early in the morning. 

This change has provoked fears that the line will no longer work for some people, and an online petition calling for the TGV service to be “saved” has collected around 600 signatures. 

The mayors of Rouen and Le Havre have also sent a letter to SNCF, urging the operator to keep to the original timetable to encourage tourism in the region.

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