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How do France’s new non-paper TGV tickets work?

Automatic ticket machines will no longer print TGV and Intercités tickets in their traditional card format, as SNCF opts for less polluting options

Automatic ticket machines will no longer issue traditional card tickets Pic: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock

What are my options for obtaining tickets for TGV journeys now that you cannot print them at self-service machines as before? 

It is no longer possible to print a full-sized card TGV or Intercités ticket at an automatic ticket machine in France, as SNCF moves towards more eco-friendly options. 

At station machines, passengers will now be presented with a ‘facturette’ similar to a till receipt, which will show their name, seat number and a QR code for scanning by the train conductor.

TER and Transilien tickets can still be printed out as before, but traditional card tickets for TGVs are now only available from a manned kiosk.

SNCF claims that before this move, only 5% of TGV tickets were being printed in their card format at station machines.

The company said that: “This is an evolution which does not change anything for customers, who know that, even if they have bought a ticket at a self-service machine, they are not obliged to print it off and can present it on their mobile phone when boarding.”

SNCF has made this change in order to “limit printing on card paper,” which is worse for the environment than printing a paper receipt.

Passengers can also carry their ticket on their smartphone, as has become customary for many people over the last few years.

E-tickets can be bought through OUI.sncf or the SNCF app. From four days before departure, the ticket will be available to download on the app and can be presented to train staff during an inspection. 

You will also be emailed your ticket, which you can print off at home if you prefer to have the paper copy with you while you travel.

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