Saturday, June 21, 2008

TGV - book in advance

The joy of a decent public transport system is that people use it. And a high speed train network like the TGV requires people to be seated.

We turned up at Gare de Lyon (which is in Paris not Lyons - though occasionally foreigners make a bad mistake!) - in good time to buy our tickets to head down to Valence.

Except the train we wanted was completely full. Sold out. And when it's full, there are no more tickets. A bit like an airplane rather than an intercity train in the UK (where you the space in a carriage between the doors and the toilets will regularly be filled with bodies, like sardines in a crushed tin).

So it's going to be an extra two hour wait for the later TGV - which only has seats available in first class. Kerching kerching. The only upside is that Littl'un can have a seat for the two hour ride for a mere €8. Less than a tenth of what each of her parents are paying. If only I could pretend to be three and a half too!

Time for another tea glace!


Cian said...
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Cian said...

For Interrail pass holders the TGVs are the worst to get seats on - reserving your seat a few days in advance is what staff told me was needed.

But it's still wrong to say "a high speed train network like the TGV requires people to be seated". They don't I've been on a TGV and German ICE trains where the seating was apparently mandatory and fully reserved where people were standing.

On Friday on the advice of a ticket agent I asked a TGV conductor was it ok to get on a train without a reservation - he said it would cost around 20 euro (payable whey are doing the ticket checking rounds). I was using an Interrail ticket and this was a train where reservations were mandatory.

He said finding an un-booked seat was up to me.

Ended up sitting one of three flip down seats in a corridor and paying just 10 euro (I had a reservation for a later train which had just cost 3 euro, but I don't think they had taken that into account). Others were standing around us, although some of them due to getting on the wrong section of a two-part TGV on a non-stop section to Paris.

Anyway, the searchable European rail timetables at will let you know the trains reservations are recommended or mandatory.