This isn’t world-changing, but it’s a first (to me, at least), and an encouraging thing to see. France has banned short-distance air travel along routes for which there exists a train ride of two and a half hours or less. This is, in case it needs to be said, a very narrow ban, clearly designed to cause as little disruption in daily life as possible. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if the people most upset about this are exactly the people who should be upset – rich dingdongs with private jets.
France has been given the green light to ban short haul domestic flights.
The European Commission has approved the move which will abolish flights between cities that are linked by a train journey of less than 2.5 hours.
The decision was announced on Friday. The changes are part of the country’s 2021 Climate Law and were first proposed by France’s Citizens’ Convention on Climate – a citizens’ assembly tasked with finding ways to reduce the country’s carbon emissions.
France is also cracking down on the use of private jets for short journeys in a bid to make transport greener and fairer for the population.
Transport minister Clément Beaune said the country could no longer tolerate the super rich using private planes while the public are making cutbacks to deal with the energy crisis and climate change.
The super rich are not accustomed to having to follow rules, so we shall see whether they are held to this, or whether they manage to buy their way out of it. This is a trial run that will be re-assessed after three years, but I hope it’s just the start of a broader shift from air to rail travel, at least within Europe. I don’t have extremely high hopes for the U.S., but wouldn’t it be nice to have high-speed rail tying all of the Americas together? One baby-step at a time, I suppose.
Initially, the ban will only affect three routes between Paris Orly and Nantes, Lyon, and Bordeaux where there are genuine rail alternatives.
If rail services improve, it could see more routes added including those between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Lyon and Rennes as well as journeys between Lyon and Marseille. They currently don’t meet the criteria for the ban because trains to airports in Paris and Lyon don’t allow passengers to arrive early in the morning or late in the evening.
Others – such as routes from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Bordeaux and Nantes – weren’t included because the journey time is more than the 2.5 hour limit.
Connecting flights will also have to follow these new rules.
It’s a glimpse of a better world, if we can build it.
‘Cause to be victorious, you must find glory in the little things.