Dear Commission, stick to your word and legislate on better ticketing
(Transport and Environment, 29 Sep 2023) The EU is stalling in its quest to improve cross-border European rail.
As a good policy freak, I call Brussels home. However, I was born and raised in Seville (Southern Spain), where family and friends still live, and where there are double the number of sunshine hours than in the EU bubble. On average, I head south three times a year. Being well aware of aviation’s climate impact, I aim for these trips to be as sustainable as possible. That automatically excludes flying.
You can get from Brussels to Seville in one day by high-speed train. It is long, but I can work on the train. Brussels-Paris-Barcelona-Madrid-Seville is my most common route. But railway companies don’t make it easy. I need to book four individual tickets, on four different websites. They are put on sale at different times of the year, which further complicates things. To avoid paying a fortune, you need to buy them on the first day they are sold. I have a spreadsheet where I log every time I buy a ticket, when they will next go on sale… I am committed, but this is a real pain. I have a hard time convincing friends to follow my lead.
The EU Commission claims that it wants a modal shift to rail. But the clock is ticking. The end of the EU parliamentary term is approaching, but we are still waiting for the Commission to publish its proposal to improve cross-border European train travel.