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Bus and coach travel in France

Intercity coach services

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Intercity coach services in France   

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TER coach
TER bus operated by the SNCF in the framework of regional public transport service.
Long-distance bus or coach services are new in France. Until 2015 there were virtually none, other than interregional services or international services passing through France.
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   That has all changed now, thanks to Emmanuel Macron who, before he was president, vowed to liberalise long-distance coach travel in France which had previously been a state monopoly. Since 2015, intercity coach services have sprung up all over France, specially on routes not served by TGV train services.
   A full range of low-cost domestic French coach services is now provided by  three main intercity coach or bus service operators, Ouibus, Isilines and Flixbus. Tickets for all these operators can be bought without any supplement on the Trainline.com website - which also has international buses from London to Paris.    To see just buses, select the "By bus" tab at the top band of the booking page. Note: bus prices are probably, but not always, cheaper, and the journey times are usually quite a bit longer.

Within France, coach services also exist at a regional level; most French cities have an "autogare" or a "gare routière" - a coach station - with regular services within the region, and sometimes further afield. Bus services most frequently cover routes for which there is no train service, and are sometimes run by or for the SNCF, the French railway operator. These services appear in the railway timetable, and cost the same as trains, but may be subsidesed.

 One region with good and extensive intercity coach services is the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur (PACA) region, with routes linking Marseilles, Avignon, Grenoble, Nice, Briancon and other cities. Further information on services in this region is available on Info-LER website.  Some regions and departments subsidise their local public bus services, both in the name of public service and as a way to reduce the number of cars on the road. An example is the department of the Gard, around Nimes, where you can travel anywhere in the department for a flat fee of 1 €uro.Map of France

Urban bus services in French cities

In most, if not all, French cities, urban bus services are provided at a flat-rate charge for individual journeys. Just buy a ticket from the driver when you get in. It will not normally cost more than a Euro - maybe as little as 20 cents, it depends on the town - and will be valid for one journey or one hour's travel. Many cities have bus services that operate well out into the suburbs or even the country. For instance, in Nice, a city bus ticket will get you out to Villefranche sur Mer.
   Many towns offer season tickets or passes on their bus services, though these are generally designed for residents, including students, are nominal, and require a photo.




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