Thursday, April 21, 2005

Good Things About France No. 2: Cheap Public Transport

Yep, not only cheap, but also good and reliable public transport. Compared to Britain, the cost of bus and train transport in France is peanuts. Ten years ago I was paying £270 a week (about 400 Euros) for a monthly train pass from the suburbs into London. Here I pay 45 Euros for the month. Admittedly the journey is only half as long but it still means I am paying a tiny amount compared to London. It is intended that these fares become even cheaper next year for the old, the young and the unemployed.

The only down side of public transport in France are the regular strikes (one day every few months) intended to keep the management on their toes. No one in France ever gives up a work related benefit. Someone told me that about 100 years ago a law was passed to allow train drivers to retire at fifty in view of the damage to their health from shovelling coal into steam engine burners. Apparently they still retire at fifty to this day.

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