TCL Public Transport Users Unhappy with Rising Prices

Published: 2018/02/27

Regular Riders Appreciate the System but Dislike the Cost


The price of TCL tickets and subscription cards, which include access to all parts of the TCL system, will rise by between 10 and 40 cents this Thursday. The TCL is efficient and easy to use but more expensive than other French cities, and the cost goes up every year. Regular users are loath to pay a continually rising price.


The price of TCL public transport tickets will go up on March 1, 2018. One-hour tickets will rise 10 cents while monthly subscriptions will go up by 30 to 40 cents.

A chart listing TCL ticket prices from 2017 and 2018. ©Sytral

A price comparison of TCL tickets from 2017 to 2018, showing the new prices effective March 1. ©SYTRAL

The New Prices

Starting on Thursday, a regular one-hour ticket will go up 10 cents, from €1,80 to 1,90.

Additionally, the pack of ten tickets and the monthly student “Campus” subscription will rise 30 cents to €16,90 and €31,80 respectively.

The “Pass Partout,” “City Pass” and “Pass Jeune” monthly subscriptions will rise 40 cents to €63,60, €60,50, and €44,50.

The TCL is Efficient, Clean, and Easy

The TCL, or Transports en Commun Lyonnais, includes the metros, trams, buses, and funiculaires that link the city of Lyon and its suburbs.

It currently consists of four metro lines, two funicular lines, 5 tramway lines, and over 120 bus lines. It is straightforward and efficient, with multiple hubs for metro, tram and bus lines throughout the city.

“During the day, it works really well. Thanks to the TCL it connects the city in a way that makes it impossible to get lost,” said Michael Johnson, a 24-year-old from Albury, Australia who uses the “Pass Partout” subscription.

TCL transit is a nice alternative to driving in the city, where parking can be difficult and many residents don’t own cars. Because the TCL manages all of Lyon’s public transport options, riders can use the same ticket on all the different transit options, even with 1-hour and daily tickets.

The Bellecour metro stop in Lyon, France. © Nicolas Robin/SYTRAL

The TCL system includes all four metro lines, 5 tramways, 2 funiculars, and 120 bus lines. © Nicolas Robin/SYTRAL

Parisian native Sami Selka, 24, said this is a huge bonus over the Paris system he is used to, which requires a different daily ticket for each part of the system. Additionally, says Selka, the prices greatly increase when leaving the center of the city designated by Paris ticket zones.

“I feel that the TCL system works better and is cleaner than the Parisian one overall,” he said. “I very much like the fact that you can do unlimited changes and switch from a metro to a bus with the same ticket during 1h for the whole TCL network.”

Selka uses the pack of ten tickets at the student rate and feels the price increase is reasonable for what the TCL offers.

Discrepancy Between Service Level and Price

But some people, including Johnson, feel they aren’t getting enough bang for their buck.

“The system itself is overpriced, particularly for how many people live here,” said Johnson. “I understand why it goes up, to provide more services, but they should be investing more public money in it instead of asking us to pay more.”

He isn’t convinced there are enough services offered to justify the price, either, in terms of how long and how often Lyon’s public transport runs.

“Its downfall for me is after 10pm,” he said. “There is a huge demand and little service for more frequent, later metros and buses.”

And unlike Selka, he does see one big benefit of the Paris system for foreigners. Lyon’s TCL has few English translations available within their services, while Paris often has multiple languages.

The T1 tram by La Doua in Lyon. © Nicolas Robin/SYTRAL

The TCL is a simple system that allows passengers to travel freely around the city without a car. © Nicolas Robin/SYTRAL

“When you go to Paris, you have a fully functional bilingual, even multilingual, service in every metro and bus and tram. In Lyon, its barely in the metro,” Johnson said.

Selka noted that the TCL isn’t particularly useful for the further-out suburbs of Lyon.

““The only point I would improve would be to better serve the suburbs of Lyon (Ecully, Tassin, etc.),” he said.

However, he does think this is a concern in most other major cities, too.

Expensive Compared to Other French Cities

Maëli Witz, 26, uses the TCL’s “Campus” subscription for students. She thinks that the price is too much, especially when compared to her home city of Toulouse.

“Three years ago, it was about €10 per month for a student,” she said of the Toulouse public transport system. “I think it’s a bit more expensive now but still not as high as here.”

An under-26 student card within the Toulouse system still stands at €10 per month. Meanwhile in Nice, an under-25 card is €20,40 monthly while the regular subscription is €40,80. With Marseille’s yearlong subscription, an under-26 student card is €18,30 per month while a regular card is €39.

Paris, of course, outranks Lyon, with a yearly pass to all zones coming in at €75,20 per month. But Paris’s under-26 student card is still cheaper than Lyon’s. The yearly fee is €342, which works out to €28,5 per month.

The Fourviere-Vieux Lyon funicular line in Lyon. © Schuller/SYTRAL

The TCL system and its prices are directed by SYTRAL, the same syndicate that manages the Rhônexpress airport shuttle. © Schuller/SYTRAL

SYTRAL is the syndicate that controls prices for both TCL and the Rhônexpress shuttle to the airport. According to a spokeswoman, the prices of TCL tickets go up every year to accommodate the development of the network.

But for Johnson, that’s exactly the point. It’s not about this year’s rise, but about every other year combined.

“The issue isn’t the 10-40 cents. The issue is the fact that it doesn’t stop rising,” he said. “France is supposed to have solidarity with people that don’t have the means to buy cars and have to take public transport, asking them to pay more and more is against the principal.”