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France Train Strike

Camino(s) past & future
June 2018
#1
Hi all!

I'm going to be walking my first Camino this June!

However, there's a massive train strike going on in France. It's a rolling strike, which means they're only striking two days a week. Ofcourse they are striking on literally my two planned travel days! Anyway, I could pay an Uber $100 dollars to take me between Bayonne and St Jean OR I could take 7hrs of bus trips between the two towns. I'll probably end up Ubering but wanted to check with you fine people first. Thoughts and thanks!
 

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RJM

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#3
Bayonne to Saint Jean by bus takes seven hours?
 

twh

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
will start in SJPP May 12, 2018
#4
Express Bourricot or APP - BlaBlacar
I had/have the same concerns regarding my travels from Paris to SJPP. Once you get to Bayonne/Biarritz, using a private shuttle company like Express Bouricott is the way to go in my opinion. The risk, if you are the only rider in their 8 passenger vehicle; it could cost you 80 Euros for the ride but with each additional rider the price goes down until there are four riders at 20 Euros each and the price bottoms out there regardless of the addition of riders 5, 6, 7 and 8. You don't pay until you are dropped off in SJPP but you can reserve a seat now. With all the strikes, the van will most like be filled if a bus/train strike is in effect in Biarritz/Bayonne when you arrive. After chatting via email with the very nice people at Ex.Bouricott, you can reduce your chances of being a lone rider by (and actually most likely guarantee a full van) by reserving a ride for 30 minutes after the arrival of a flight from London or Dublin coming in to Biarritz/Bayonne. I arrive on a Saturday from Paris at noon and there is not much arrival traffic at that time or for the next 4 hours. My choice was to either book a much later shuttle (with more than 4 current reservations) for 20 euros and arrive after dark or take the risk of paying 60 Euro more but arriving in SJPP before 14:00 and have 5 hours of daylight to walk around the down town leisurely and enjoy a sidewalk cafe dinner. The next morning it may be dark when I start my hike and I will see little of the town then. During the course of my emails over a few days an additional rider signed up for the shuttle at my time reducing the cost but because we don't pay ahead of time, that person or anyone else making a reservation could decide on something different and I could be a lone passenger. Another option: someone told me today about the APP called blablacar. It's a ride share App developed in the UK and popular in Europe as well as other countries like India but not the USA. Drivers list the trips they are taking and the cost of each seat if you want to share the ride with them. Passengers/customers - put out a request for a ride from point A to B at their desired time & date and then a Driver can build a full car ride by looking at the demand. By filling the car the driver makes more money and for the passengers the cost per seat is reduced with more riders. It's not like Uber or Lyft with the slick payment system and a view of how many cars are close by to pick you up so it's undoubtedly a bit clunkier but I like the concept. There is no middle man taking a cut or setting prices so it's more informal, like an electronic bulletin board to find a ride or riders. I signed up for it today and put in my trip date, time, destination and starting point for a desired ride....B/B to SJPP as a backup for my Ex.Bouricott reservation. I think most people use it the day they need a ride or the hour in which they need the ride. I have no experience with it and don't actually know anyone who has used it but my research shows it is a legitimate business. Maybe someone else from Europe and better yet, from Biarritz/Bayonne who has actually used the service can share their views on this App I would think the transportation strike season would boost the popularity of this business due to all the customers.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF011, CF012, CP013, CF014, CA015, S.Anton015, CF015, CI015
Ditch Pig016, CF017, CP017, CdN(018)
#5
I realize getting a handle on your travel plans is enormously important. However, no one know how the negotiations with unions is going to proceed, it could be worse by June it could be over by June. Stay tuned to the news you can read on the Internet and make your plans accordingly. The bus from Bayonne to SJPdP is a one hour trip, the problem is it operated by the SNCF, the train company, so there is no telling if the drivers will walk out in support of the rail workers. I live in Biarritz part of the year and have never seen the Express Bouricott service in action but everyone on this Forum raves about it. If you have all your flight information I guess the safest thing to do is to book with them now while there are seats available. If you can get a place for 20 euros versus the train/bus at 10 euros, that sounds like good insurance for your first day on France.
 
Last edited:

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bib

Bridget
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
may/june (2018)
#6
I'm a bit worried about the train strike too but I'm hoping the strikes might lift before I arrive in 3 weeks? I've already booked and paid for my train from Paris to SJPDP (and now I've discovered its a scheduled strike day). I don't want to re-book anything else yet so I'll deal with whatever happens when I arrive in Paris. I've been a bit anxious about my Camino up till now but feel like I'm starting to let go and just let it be. "..let it be...let it be...yeah let it be...whisper words of wisdom...let it be" Couldn't resist breaking into song! :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017 or 2018
#7
Hi all!

I'm going to be walking my first Camino this June!

However, there's a massive train strike going on in France. It's a rolling strike, which means they're only striking two days a week. Ofcourse they are striking on literally my two planned travel days! Anyway, I could pay an Uber $100 dollars to take me between Bayonne and St Jean OR I could take 7hrs of bus trips between the two towns. I'll probably end up Ubering but wanted to check with you fine people first. Thoughts and thanks!
Hi all!

I'm going to be walking my first Camino this June!

However, there's a massive train strike going on in France. It's a rolling strike, which means they're only striking two days a week. Ofcourse they are striking on literally my two planned travel days! Anyway, I could pay an Uber $100 dollars to take me between Bayonne and St Jean OR I could take 7hrs of bus trips between the two towns. I'll probably end up Ubering but wanted to check with you fine people first. Thoughts and thanks!
I took a bus from Bayonne to St Jean it was a short trip.
 

RJM

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#8
So much hassle. Not worth it. I would say to anyone that has not yet bought tickets, to avoid traveling in France completely and simply fly into Madrid and take a train or bus to Pamplona and then bus on to Saint Jean if that is where you intend to start.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF011, CF012, CP013, CF014, CA015, S.Anton015, CF015, CI015
Ditch Pig016, CF017, CP017, CdN(018)
#9
Exactly the reason I chose the Norte this year. I had heard rumblings about the upcoming strikes and the CGT, the primary union which is striking, does not make idle threats.
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
#10
bib, for what it's worth, I have never bought a ticket for the french rail journeys - or I should say pre bought - I know it costs more, but I just get a train from CDG ariport straight down to Bordeaux and then change for Bayonne. That way I am not stuck with having a ticket that I can't use for whatever reason. I just pay the penalty of it being more expensive. I stress having to catch trains and buses so that way I take my time and don't have to rush at all. I know this won't help you if there is a strike, but if you want to wing it and see what the situation is when you arrive then it is quite doable. Buen Camino, Janet
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
#11
I hesitate to post this because it will sound like I'm reprimanding the OP (which I'm not) -- I'm posting for the benefit of future pilgrims. Over the six years that I've been a member of this forum, I can't count the number of posts I've seen regarding travel plans disrupted by railroad strikes in France. I can appreciate why Paris is such a common touch-down point for pilgrims traveling to the Camino -- Paris is a lovely city if you're a tourist, so perhaps many see it as maybe their only chance to visit this world-premier city. If you're dealing with a travel agent, they may see your ultimate destination is in France so they automatically look at initial flight legs into Paris. There's also comparative airfares to consider. However, I humbly suggest to future pilgrims that they consider flying into Madrid rather than Paris if they're starting the Camino Francés, even if it may cost a few dollars/euros more. It's a piece of cake to get a train or bus from the Madrid airport to Pamplona, and from there a short bus ride or taxi share to SJPDP. Railroad strikes are not unheard of in Spain, but they don't seem to be a regular occurrence like in France -- and if you happen to land in Madrid when a strike is happening, just take the bus right from the airport. Peace of mind matters.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF011, CF012, CP013, CF014, CA015, S.Anton015, CF015, CI015
Ditch Pig016, CF017, CP017, CdN(018)
#15
Do you remember which bus you took?
The bus from Bayonne Gare to SJPdP is operated by SNCF because the track have been washed out during flooding this spring. Apparently the bus drivers are not participating in the strike action, yet. They operate on the same schedule as the trains.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF011, CF012, CP013, CF014, CA015, S.Anton015, CF015, CI015
Ditch Pig016, CF017, CP017, CdN(018)
#16
I hesitate to post this because it will sound like I'm reprimanding the OP (which I'm not) -- I'm posting for the benefit of future pilgrims. Over the six years that I've been a member of this forum, I can't count the number of posts I've seen regarding travel plans disrupted by railroad strikes in France. I can appreciate why Paris is such a common touch-down point for pilgrims traveling to the Camino -- Paris is a lovely city if you're a tourist, so perhaps many see it as maybe their only chance to visit this world-premier city. If you're dealing with a travel agent, they may see your ultimate destination is in France so they automatically look at initial flight legs into Paris. There's also comparative airfares to consider. However, I humbly suggest to future pilgrims that they consider flying into Madrid rather than Paris if they're starting the Camino Francés, even if it may cost a few dollars/euros more. It's a piece of cake to get a train or bus from the Madrid airport to Pamplona, and from there a short bus ride or taxi share to SJPDP. Railroad strikes are not unheard of in Spain, but they don't seem to be a regular occurrence like in France -- and if you happen to land in Madrid when a strike is happening, just take the bus right from the airport. Peace of mind matters.
Agree totally! France is a lovely country with lovely people but "strikes happen" and after the 8 years that I have lived here we just get used to labor actions as a part of our lives. That being said, as you stated, Spain is not immune to strikes and with the simmering independence movements in Pays Basque, Catalonia and Galicia, the fragmentation between public transport service could begin to feel the effects. I don't mean this to be a political statement, just a statement of facts.
 

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