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France – Germany: Thousands of free train tickets for young people

A holiday in Frankfurt or a weekend in Munich without paying a single euro for the train journey. This will soon be possible for some! Yes, a low-cost offer for young people will soon be proposed by France and Germany… Paris and Berlin will introduce a “bi-national ticket” in the summer of 2023, 60,000 of which will be free. This is certainly very good news, but under what conditions?

A ticket, symbol of Franco-German friendship

This initiative is a way of “celebrating 60 years of the Elysée Treaty“, signed by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer in 1963. A text that sealed the reconciliation between the two countries. At a press conference held at the Élysée Palace on Sunday 22 January, the French and German governments presented several measures aimed at strengthening the ties between the two countries. The binational ticket is one of these measures. The aim is also to encourage young people to use the train for their journeys. This new project is part of the Tågskryt trend. To this end, 60 000 copies will be distributed free of charge under certain conditions, say the transport ministers of both countries, Clément Beaune and Volker Missing. Both countries have promised financial support for the scheme, which is being implemented by SNCF and Deutsche Bahn.

But who will benefit from these free train tickets? The French Ministry of Transport was interviewed by Huffington Post and said: “For the young people who are interested and who will be eligible, it will probably be necessary to register in a lottery system.” Furthermore, he implied that the operation could be renewed every year if it is a great success in this first edition. Further details will be announced shortly.

Longer-term objectives

The project is also based on a central issue: the fight against climate change. The aim is for travelers to favor rail over other modes of transport.

This scheme aims to achieve our climate targets for the transport sector. We need to convince even more people to travel by train. To do this, we need to provide attractive offers.

Volker Wissing, German Minister of Transport and Digital Affairs

At the beginning of November, Germany already made big announcements concerning this transport, with the implementation of its unlimited rail pass at 49 euros per month. Today, France and Germany have already been running high-speed trains between the two countries for over 15 years. However, they want to go even further… They support the development in 2024 of a direct high-speed rail link between Berlin and Paris in just 7 hours. But also a night train linking the two European capitals. To be continued in 2024…