14

When travelling around London, I usually follow the standing advice and use an Oyster pay-as-you-go card for my tube/bus/train/dlr journeys. It works well, as I can load some cash on every so often, quickly breeze through turnstiles / onto buses, and I know that after a few journeys in a day my costs will be capped and all subsequent journeys will be effectively "free".

Historically, when in Paris, I've tended to just buy a carnet of 10 metro/bus tickets, often from the shop on-board the Eurostar on the way. However, I've noticed recently that almost everyone else is using Navigo cards for their travel, rather than the paper metro tickets. Is it possible to get an equivalent to an Oyster pay-as-you-go for Paris as an occasional tourist? (Let's say 2-5 journeys in a typical day)

15

No, Paris has no such thing. It's probably going to happen one day, but at the moment, Navigo cards are only for commuter passes (one calendar week or longer). You see a lot of them because most locals have one (whether they live in Paris or only work there). For infrequent visitors, you'll need paper tickets: typically a “ticket T” (good for one trip in the Metro + RER within Paris, or (not both) for one bus + tram trip (excluding some buses outside the city limits, in particular the airport express buses)), which is markedly cheaper if you buy 10 of them (a carnet, pronounced car-NAY). (These tickets are not nominative and have no preemption date, so you can buy 10 and spread them around multiple trips and over the whole party.)

There are also day passes (Mobilis) and tourist passes as well as the youth week-end ticket. You have to make up your mind at the beginning of your trip whether you'll go for a pass or not, there's nothing like London's automatic cap when you reach the day ticket rate. Beware that Paris's day passes exclude the airport express services.

  • Good to mention: you can get carnets for all journeys, even for the airports. It's ~30% discount and the tickets are valid for ages (I know people using tickets more than 15 years old). – yo' Nov 3 '14 at 16:57
  • @tohecz True, but for most occasional visitors it's not worth getting a carnet for point-to-point tickets. Beware that these tickets are magnetic and employees are not as accommodating as they used to be when a ticket becomes demagnetized. I think the rules have changed and the ticket is now officially invalid if it has become demagnetized. – Gilles Nov 3 '14 at 19:37
  • WARNING! Remember to keep your ticket until you are back on the street. If you get caught in a ticket check, some will allow you to go back to find the validated ticket you threw away, but most will not. And if you are caught without a ticket, it is a €75 fee. Per person without a ticket! Of course this only applies to paper tickets, not Navigo cards. – LabGecko Mar 4 at 12:42
  • @Gilles last November I got some old tickets replaced with new ones because they got demagnetized. No problem at all. I don't see why the employees shoudn't do it, since RATP is offering tickets which gets demagnetized so easily – Val Mar 4 at 16:15
5

Despite being one of the first transit systems to introduce contactless passes (back in 2001), further development of the system has been extremely slow compared to what has been observed in many other cities, which have gone from nothing to very complete and flexible systems in a fraction of the time.

Beyond annual passes (2001) and monthly and weekly passes (2005), daily passes were only added in 2018!

At the moment, there is no pay-as-you go scheme, no way to load a card with a product bought online by just using a ticket gate, no compatibility with contactless payment cards (though this has been talked about several times, it has yet to materialise).

Pay-as-you go is finally planned to be introduced in April 2019, with Navigo Easy, which will allow loading the card with regular tickets, daily passes, and more. The card itself will be sold 2 euros.

Another scheme, Navigo Liberté+, will allow users to be billed at the end of the month for whatever they use (on the basis of the Ticket t+ "carnet" price). It's unclear whether it will even be possible to use it outside of the Ticket t+ validity zones.

No mention of automatic caps like on Oyster yet, though.

1

Actually I find transportation fares in Paris much easier than in London. There are no fares divided per day times, you get only one unique cost per ride (based on the zones, but this is quite easy for occasional travelers since usually you don't go outside zone 1-2).

Mobilis is a daily pass with unlimited rides and with a fixed rate, so basically it's the same as the cap price with oyster pay-as-you go, and the alternative you are looking for.

(Navigo Decouverte, which offers unlimited travels over 1 week for example, can be bought also by tourists, but it worths the effort only if you arrive beginning of the week. Starting from friday you can buy it for the following week. So if you arrive at the end of the week you will have some days uncovered.)

  • 2
    The beauty of the London system is that you don't have think about the fares at all - you just swipe your credit card and go through the turnstile. It doesn't matter how complicated the fare is if you never have to choose which option is cheapest. – JonathanReez Mar 5 at 4:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.