A few hours after affirming that the implementation of a summer rail pass would not take place this year due to lack of agreement from three regions, the Minister for Transport, Patrice Vergriete, affirmed on Wednesday, April 3, in the evening, that “all regions” had finally given it. “The situation has just settled,” the minister told Agence France-Presse.

“Unless there is a change of direction from the regional presidents, even today, we cannot be operational in 2024 (…). There will be no rail pass this summer,” the minister said earlier in the day on Franceinfo. According to him, three regional presidents had not given their agreement, citing “Hervé Morin [Normandy], Xavier Bertrand [Hauts-de-France] and Laurent Wauquiez [Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes]” and saying they regretted an “attitude without explanation “. The regions finance regional trains and decide on fares.

Declaring himself “delighted” with this outcome, Mr. Vergriete thanked the president of Occitanie and the Régions de France association, Carole Delga, who “re-mobilized the regional presidents” on this issue, as well as the latter. “That’s 700,000 young people who will be able to benefit from free access to Intercités and TER trains this summer for 49 euros, which is great news for young people,” added the minister. According to Mr. Vergriete, the government accepted, at the request of the regions, that the State finance 80% of the system, estimated at 15 million euros. The regions had already managed to reserve the rail pass for under-27s during the summer season.

Before the turnaround, the regions cited were quick to react. In a press release, the Hauts-de-France region said it was “favorable” to the establishment of a rail pass, but regretted that it had been “transformed” by the minister “into a discount pass only For the young “. Norman Hervé Morin denounced “an announcement (…) without prior consultation with the regions which are nevertheless organizers of rail transport”.

“Government remains open.”

The president of the Normandy region deplored in particular that the figures for revenue losses for the region were “totally improvised and in all cases do not correspond to the figures announced by the minister [Wednesday] morning”, as well as the exclusion of the region Ile-de-France system. “If there must be a rail pass it must be national and apply to the entire French network and must not exclude the Ile-de-France network through which most young people inexorably pass when going to another region by train. “, he pleaded in a press release.

Same criticism from the Hauts-de-France region which said it was ready to sign if “two points of alert are taken into account”: the question of the absence of Ile-de-France from the system and “the distribution of cost” between state and regions. According to the regional executive chaired by Xavier Bertrand, “responsibility for the loss of revenue should have been assumed entirely by the State”. For Patrice Vergriete, “80% covered by the State was exactly what the regions were asking for”.

The president of the Pays de la Loire region, Christelle Morançais, said she was “favorable to the government’s proposal”, but questioned “the haste and unpreparedness” of the announcements. “In six months, the regions have obtained neither the details of the cost estimates, nor the guarantees of compatibility of the ticketing distribution systems,” added the Régions de France association, which requested in a press release “work seriously” and “that a guarantee is given of national coverage of this offer in 2025”.

The introduction of this monthly pass allowing unlimited travel within the territory by Intercités and TER trains, inspired by the German example, was promised by the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, in September. “Of course, the government remains open and we will continue to make these proposals for 2025,” said Mr. Vergriete, who “does not want to give up.”

A summer rail pass exclusively reserved for young people already existed in France in 2020 and 2021. It concerned those under 27, who, for 29 euros per month, could borrow any TER anywhere in France – except in Ile-de-France. -France –, but not the Intercités.