Passengers on French trains can be paid to carry parcels

Travellers can earn up to €20 via an eco-friendly idea from a new start-up

WePost users always know what is inside the package, and can be paid €10-20 per parcel
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Looking to offset the price of your train travel in France? You could soon earn money on your next train journey with French start-up WePost, which pays passengers to transport small parcels on board.

WePost offers train travellers on SNCF services the option to take a parcel with them, and be paid for the trouble. 

Its rules include:

  • Users are paid around €10 per parcel on average, but can be paid as much as €20

  • The parcels can only weigh 3 kg or less

  • Users always know exactly what is inside each package, with transparent packaging (or easily-opened packaging) as much as possible

  • User identities are closely guarded for data protection purposes

  • Users are paid securely via the payment facilitator Stripe

  • Users must sign up with ID and each parcel has tracking, to ensure the security of the parcel

  • Each parcel has insurance in case of damage, loss, or theft

The WePost website promises "100% green and fast" deliveries

Travellers pick up and drop off the parcel from a nearby and convenient public place - for example, a partner hotel opposite the station. The hotel is then responsible for coordinating the next stage of the sending, and the company sends delivery cyclists to go the rest of the way.

WePost currently partners with the hotel chain Ibis, and the co-working company Wojo, in Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Bordeaux, and Angers.

SNCF allows passengers to do this on its trains, as long as the traveller can carry the parcel themselves (just as they would any other luggage), and know exactly what they are carrying. SNCF does not take a commission.

More than 30,000 people have already signed up to the WePost platform. There is also a WePost Pro option designed for e-commerce companies or high-volume users, which has a wider network, seven-day-a-week deliveries, extra insurance, and tracking.

An eco-friendly alternative

The start-up was created after the Covid crisis by co-founders Sophie Brette and Bruno Hameurt, who were inspired by car-sharing apps. These allow people to share vehicles (and the cost of petrol) with people who are already travelling in their desired direction.

Fittingly, WePost has already been described as the ‘Blabacar of transporting parcels’.

It allows people to send parcels without requiring an extra journey, making the method a more eco-friendly way of sending items. The companies sending the parcels pay around €20-25 for the service, and WePost takes around 18% in commission. The passenger takes the rest.

“We are complementary [to other sending services already available],” Ms Brette, told Capital. “We are not aiming to replace major courier companies, but to offer an alternative on certain journeys, where it is possible to use our solution.

“It’s an eco-responsible, zero emission solution,” she said.

The start-up is aiming to send 150,000 parcels in 2024, and is also working to expand into Switzerland and Belgium.

One user, a business student travelling from Lille to Marseille, who carried a parcel of second-hand clothes on their journey, told France 2: “I paid around €40 for my ticket, but I’ll be paid €15. Frankly, it’s great for me.”

One sender who used the service, wrote: “The idea is brilliant and the process is very successful. There's no need to search desperately for someone who knows someone…no need to compare express courier prices in dread…!”