How the European Green Deal will impact the future of rail travel in the Old Continent?
Eurail B.V. is the company managing the Eurail and Interrail Passes and has facilitated climate-friendly train travel for over 64 years. Eurail provides unparalleled access to European trains and ferries. With one Rail Pass, travelers have the freedom to Go Green(er) and the flexibility to reach 30,000+ destinations in 33 countries.
What is the European Green Deal?
In short, the European Commission created the Green Deal to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent in the world.
In a bid to lower emissions and tackle the velocity of climate change and environmental degradation, the proposal aims to transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy. Eurail is in the front seat, committed to driving our travelers toward sustainable mobility in collaboration with our European partners.
What is the European Green Deal’s goal?
27 Member States have collectively pledged to transform the EU into the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Their goal is to reduce emissions from cars and vans by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
According to the European Commission, “Rail is also part of the solution, being responsible for less than 0.4% of transport-related greenhouse gas emissions in the EU.” In other words, the objective is to encourage more people to commute or travel by train. Eurail believes the mobile Pass is the perfect travel companion for generations to come. It enables unlimited paper-free travel to 30,000 cross-country routes in Europe
How many Europeans travel by train?
Train travel is currently responsible for a mere 0.5% of carbon emissions within the EU. Yet surprisingly, only 7% of travelers and 11% of goods take to the rails to travel long distances across the continent. In 2022 over 980,000 customers travelled with a Eurail or an Interrail Pass, that is almost 30% increase from previous year, which shows that people are looking at different and more sustainable ways to travel.
Is Europe outlawing flights to boost rail travel?
In an effort to make train travel more attractive, the European Commission approved France’s plan to boost rail travel by banning short-haul flights in 2021 (at least on routes providing an alternative rail route of two and a half hours or less). Paris-Orly and Bordeaux, Nantes, and Lyon flight routes have been scrapped in favor of train travel. Eurail Pass travelers can reach all three destinations in two hours on the direct high-speed TGV trains from Paris (seat reservations are required).
Why did France only ban three short-haul plane routes?
The fact remains that when travelers are in a rush or have a tight schedule, regional and cross-border train travel is not always the most convenient option as it can require multiple stops with short connection times. And due to the current point-to-point ticketing systems and fixed networks of national railways across Europe, it can also be a hard-to-book and expensive alternative to flying.
Luckily, Eurail Pass travelers can utilize the Rail Planner app and seat reservations tool to simplify the booking process.
What does the Green Deal mean for European train travel?
Good news: Faster trains, a universal ticketing system, and less tax on international trips could be on the ticket for Europe’s future rail network.
In addition, to make transport sustainable for all, the European Commission intends to discourage the road transport, maritime, and aviation sectors from 2026 onwards – with a potential obligation for planes to use sustainable blended fuels for all departures from EU airports. In other words, low-cost flights and affordable bus tours across Europe could be a thing of the past. However, with one Rail Pass, travelers can continue to enjoy affordable, flexible, and borderless travel to 30,000 destinations on Europe’s most sustainable mode of transportation.
To learn more about our products or to discuss how to become a partner, visit this link.