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Avoid Rhonexpress - Rip off!
I would just like to inform you about this company, Rhonexpress. First of all it is a scandal how the concession has been given for 30 YEARS to such companies as Vinci or Veolia, known for not caring much for the clients but for profits and dividends mostly. Of course they have assured a monopolistic position, ending with the more than appropiate (and fair priced) bus service that was working 2 or 3 years ago. Given the within reason investment its a wonderful affair for them!
Anyhow, we are talking about one of the most expensive transport services to and from an airport in all Europe. For a +30 minutes ride, at the moment the price is at 14€ one way if you buy directly from the machines (and 15€ if you buy it directly at the controller!!!). Also, I have been informed just recently that the prices are going UP! One more euro, apparently. It is a disgrace in my opinion.
The only good thing to say about the company is that the service on board is usually very good, with pleasant employees who must take all the abuse and insults for the exaggerate price clients must pay. The tram service by itself is just adequate, with problems in the railway often and disrupted services not so unfrequent.
Recently I have learnt from another company that does a "shuttle service", from Bellecour instead of Part Dieu. Its website is www.elit-voyages.fr and it is way cheaper.
Thanks for reading!
The tramways of Grand Lyon
On the evening of January 29, 1956, the last tram (aka streetcar) made its last run on the last line of Lyon's urban tramway system. That was the old line number 4 from Perrache to the Parc de la Tete d'Or.
"At that period, and for several decades afterwards," according to the website ferro-lyon.net, "no one could imagine that some day the Lyon tramway might circulate again on the streets of the city."
It took nearly a quarter century before a few politicians started suspecting that maybe the tram wasn't such a bad thing after all. And it wasn't until 1990 that the newly elected mayor of Lyon, Michel Noir, publicly suggested bringing back the trams. Over a decade later the first two lines of the new tramway network went into service.
"So it happened," as ferro-lyon.net explains, "that 44 years, 11 months and 4 days after the last run of the last tram on the old tram network of Lyon, the modern tramway resumed its place in the lives of the inhabitants of the metropolitan area on January 2, 2001."
Now, a decade later, there are three and a half tram lines in operation on the streets of Lyon and vicinity. The newest, the T-4, is already running but only on the first half of the planned route.
The trams have total priority at traffic lights, since a sensor is located between the rails several hundred meters before each crossing, causing the lights to turn red for motor traffic so the tramway can cross unhindered.
On the official website of the Grand Lyon Urban Community we can read: "Respectful of the environment, silent and comfortable, the tramway has re-taken its place in the large urban areas of France."
On my Strasbourg page I wrote: "As in a number of other French and German cities, the recently re-instituted tram and light rail systems have done a lot to reduce automobile traffic and make the cities cleaner and more livable."
Even Paris has started to follow the example of other French cities such as Nantes, Grenoble, Strasbourg, Montpellier, Lyon, Nancy, Orleans or Bordeaux, and has built its first modern tramway line, which began operation at the end of 2006. In my Paris tramway tip I wrote: "While building the tracks and stations, they took the opportunity to widen sidewalks, plant trees, build new cycling paths and install an attractive new street lighting system, so as to upgrade an area which until then was more of a motorized jungle than a habitable urban neighborhood." The new Paris tramway, like the ones in Strasbourg, Lyon and other French cities, has been a great success and is currently being extended.
Unlike most other French cities, Lyon never completely abandoned its old network of trolleybus lines. Instead, these lines have been modernized. They now use modern Cristalis trolleybuses, either simple or articulated.
These lines now run mainly on reserved bus lanes to avoid getting stuck in traffic jams. Like the tramways, the three "C-lines" using 18-meter articulated trolleybuses have sensors which automatically change the traffic lights when a trolleybus is approaching.
(Cristalis in this connection is not a Japanese computer game but rather a French bus building consortium.)
The "C-lines" are intended to combine "the advantages of a tram with the flexibility of a bus" at a much lower cost for the building of the infrastructure. But actually they are not as flexible as normal buses because they can't stray far from their overhead wires.
For those who are not familiar with trollybuses, I should point out that they have separate connections to two overhead wires, so as to complete the electrical circuit. Trams only need one overhead wire because they are grounded by the metal tracks that they run on.
Trolleybuses are also used extensively in the Swiss cities of Zürich, Bern and Geneva, but I'm sorry to say they have recently been phased out in Basel.
Second photo: An articulated 18-meter Cristalis trolleybus on the line C3, rounding the corner at the City Hall.
Funicular to Minimes and St Just
This orange funicular looks much more modern than the red one, but in fact this line is older; it first began operations in 1878. The current two-car trains came into service in 1988.
This line from Vieux Lyon to St Just is 834 meters long. There is an intermediate stop at Minimes, where you could get off to visit the Roman ruins.
Second photo: The orange funicular leaving Vieux Lyon on a separate bridge at the back end of the station.
Third photo: In the orange funicular on the way to St Just
Fourth photo: St Just itself is a rather nondescript district with lots of automobile traffic. The most attractive looking place I saw in St Just was this restaurant, La Terrasse, which is why I took a picture of it. There are two Vélo'v stations in St Just, but the problem with them is that most people prefer to ride downhill rather than up, so the stations are often empty. I was lucky enough to find a bike at one of the stations, so I took it and coasted back down the hill to Vieux Lyon.
Funicular to Fourvière
There are two funiculars leaving from Vieux Lyon. This one goes up the hill to the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière, a distance of 431 meters.
This funicular has been in service since 1900, except for eight months in 1970 when it was closed for modernization.
Second photo: The red funicular leaving Vieux Lyon on a bridge at the back end of the station.
Lyon has four modern Métro lines which are designated by capital letters as well as by colors on the map. Line A is red, B is blue, C is orange and D is green.
Lines A and B began operating in 1978, lines C in 1981 and line D in 1991, with various extensions since then. Lines A, B and D run on rubber tires rather than steel wheels, so they are very smooth and quiet. Line D runs automatically, with no driver on board.
I took the Métro only twice, to transport my luggage from the station Part-Dieu to my hotel and back. From Part-Dieu I took line B two stops to Saxe-Gambetta, where I changed to line D and rode two stops to Bellecour.
The metro in Lyon is safe and clean, very good. It takes you very easy to all parts of the city. When you visit Lyon, use the metro, but if you shall be in the center. You can just walk. Everything is close. And the exercise when you walk, is good for the body and the heart. I guess you will eat so much food when you are there.
We took the metro. Trains are super frequent and the machine to buy your ticket was easy to use. I believe it was 4.50 for an all day pass and that is good for all the modes of public transportation. You HAVE to have change though, no paper money.
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Public transports in Lyon
The Lyon Public Transports Network is called TCL (Transport en Commun Lyonnais).
It's one of the best I've ever seen. Cleaner than the one in Paris. The Metro consists in four lines named A, B, C and D. The C is used to go up the Croix Rousse hill. The D is entirely automatic.
TO SETTLE ONCE AND FOR ALL THIS ISSUE, you cannot hop onto the metro without paying anymore. There are some barriers in almost every stations now.
The cost of a ticket (one way and valid one hour) is 1.60E which make it almost the most expensive in France (Marseille is more expensive I think but their metro is a big joke). You can get it cheaper (around 1.20E) if you buy a lot of 10 (even cheaper if you're a student).
Then there is the daily ticket, valid all day for appx 4.50E (ticket liberté journée).
The Night ticket (ticket liberté soirée) is the best bet. From 7PM to the end of the night and for 2.20E, it gives access to unlimited travel. Though it is well hidden when buying it from vending machines. Select "autre produits" and there it its ;). Otherwise ask an agency or a local.
For longer stays, you can buy a Tecely card for a month (full fare is 47E for one month, reduced fares for students are around 30E).
The D line has the highest frequency, you shall not wait more than 5 minutes to catch one. The other lines can go up to 10 minutes at late times. Be aware that the metros stop at midnight.
About tramways, there are three of them (T1, T2 and T3). Unlike in Paris, you can use the metro and then the tramway with the same ticket (within the time your ticket is valid of course). The same goes for buses. In Lyon, transport is about combination. Sometimes it's easier to take the tramway for a few stops and then shift to the metro/bus. The main buses lines are the C1 and C3, they are big trolleys. The first one can get you from Part Dieu railway station and mall to the Parc de la tête d'or (great park inside Lyon)/Cité internationale (Museum, casino, cinema and concert hall). The C3 used to get you from eastbound city Villeurbanne to Hotel de Ville but it is cut in two because of an explosion that happenned early 2008.
In Lyon, you have to enter the bus by the driver side and get out by the rear exits. Of course, you can buy tickets by asking the driver.
The free bicycles "Velov's" are available in many areas. You can buy an annual card for 10E (but you'll have to contact an agency or the TCL to add this on your Tecely card) or you can get a weekly temporary card with a credit card (debit cards such as Visa Electron work as well but 150E will be frozen on your account so think about it before you take one). To do so, you have to go to a bay where they are stored and follow the instructions on the screen (english instructions availble). Once it's done, you will get a card on paper support. Then you have 30 minutes before you start paying (enough as Lyon is a compact town). After this period, the bicycle will make a beeping sound. The trick for long trip is to drop one off before it beeps and take another one if you don't want to pay.
A few tricks about Velov's: the people in charge of the network are trying to preserve it but bicycle used by so many people are easly damaged. Always check the brakes, the gear selector, the seat, the chain and the tyres before taking one. If one is damaged but you haven't taken it, flip the seat backwards to indicate it to other users. If you have taken it, return it and go back to the screen to report it.
Also check which velovs are available (they are all tagged with two numbers, the number of where it is in the bay and the serial number (longer one). Use the first one. Sometimes, there is plenty of velov's in a station but only a few availables.
Depending on the time of the day and especially at night, it can be hard to pick a velov or return one. In the Grange Blanche/Garibaldi/Jean Macé area after midnight, you will hardly find a spot to return your Velov on weekends (cuz loads of students live there). After 8PM, it will be the Vieux Lyon/Hotel de ville area that will be crowded and you'll struggle dropping your Velov off. The best bet is to drop it off a bit before you arrive to the station you're supposed to drop it at.
If you cannot find one, search for a small station in a little street, most of the tourists don't know them. Or you can wait til someone returns one but it'll take some time before the velov is made available.
Driving on a velov can be tricky when not used to French traffic. Avoid the big avenues and boulevards, Lyon people are really nice to chat with, but when they are driving, it's not the same anymore. The docks and the cycling alleys are probably the best places to drive.
It's not because you're not driving a car that you don't have to follow the driving rules. Of course doing this can be dangerous but moreover, the French police is sometimes not really understanding and eager to give fines away so be sure to drive safely.
After midnight, there are the night buses. Three of them called "bus pleine lune" (full moon bus) depart from the Opera (just next to the Hotel de Ville metro stop) and go in various directions. The first one takes you to Part Dieu/La Doua (scientific uni/campus) area (it stops at Bellecour first). The second one takes you to Bellecour/Guillotiere/Garibaldi/Grange Blanche/Parilly area (the end of the line is not far away from the hippie campus of Lyon 2, dodgy area though). The third one takes you to the posh town of Ecully, a west town.
Normally you have to buy a ticket but to avoid fights with drunken customers, they don't really check. If you have bought a night ticket, validate it, it's always good to show them that people are paying for it in order to have more buses. The crowd there is mostly students/youngsters with a various level of alcohol running through their veins. If it's definitely not your style, prefer to call a taxi, as Lyon is a small compact town, it's not that expensive.
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Métro de Lyon
L'histoire retiendra 1978 comme l'année du commencement de l'exploitation du métro de Lyon, même si 1974 a vu naître la première ligne (C) du réseau.
Actuellement, il en comprend quatre nommées par des lettres (A, B, C et D).
Even though history will keep 1978 as the year of the beginning of the exploitation of the subway of Lyons, 1974 saw to be born the first line (C).
Currently, he/it understands four named by letters of them (A, B, C and D).
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Smart Bikes in Lyon
There are amazing smart bikes in Lyon which are a clever addition to the public transport network. The bikes are docked in bays and can be accessed by a smart transport card (similar to Oyster in London). Each bike bay has a series of sensors which detect and alerts the Maintenance guys about punctures etc.
The journey is free if less than half hour and there are quite a few docking bays around the City. The only drawback is that you must apply for a smart card 28 days in advance which rules out most tourists.
What amazed me was how joined up the transport system was. We stayed in a hotel near Part Dieu SNCF station and had 5 modes of transport to get to the old town.
2 - Smart Bike
3 - Tram
4 - Metro
5 - Bus
I noticed that the bikes were used as much by business men as teenagers. Furthermore, there was no evidence of vandalism or damage to the bikes. In short, I found Lyon very bicycle friendly. As I noted elsewhere, even the Quai de Guingettes rents out electric bikes for 1 euro per hour.
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Public transport in Lyon
There's 4 metro lines in Lyon, as well as 2 tram lines, 2 funicular lines and buses. The metros end service around midnight and get going again around 5 in the morning. Dogs & bikes are not permitted. You have to get tickets in advance and stamp them at entry. You can use the ticket several times when travelling in the same direction. A simple ticket costs 1,50 Euro, a day ticket ("Ticket Liberte 1 jour") 4,30 Euro, an evening ticket ("Liberte Soiree", valid after 7PM) 2,10 Euro. You can also get a set of 10 simple tickets for a reduced price and a special rate ticket to take the funicular up and down. Reductions for youth/students are available as well. The machines only accept coins or the French CB (I'm not sure about credit cards).
For a weekly or monthly ticket you need to get a "Tecely" card at a TCL (public transport) office. For that, you need to provide an ID card, a proof or residence, a passport photo and 5 Euro. A weekly ticket for an adult costs around 15 Euro for example. Monthly tickets you should get in the beginning of the month and weekly tickets on Thursdays.
If you have a French carte bancaire or a credit card (or a local friend who trusts you a lot!) you can also use Velo'v, the great bike rental system of Lyon. Here a weekly card costs only 1 Euro and when you deposit the bike at another station within 30 min, it's free! It's a very cheap and convenient way to explore the city as you can find stations with plenty of bikes all over town. If you don't return the bike within 24h 150 Euros will be debited from your account though ... For more info, visit: www.velov.grandlyon.com (French only)
1837 - 1893 : les premiers TC lyonnais
Le premier service de transport en commun fait son apparition à Lyon en 1837, avec des fiacres à chevaux portant le nom d' omnibus.
Très vite, la concurrence est telle qu'une compagnie unique, la CLO (Compagnie Lyonnaise des Omnibus) est créée.
La CLO se lance dans la construction d'un réseau de tramways à chevaux circulant sur des rails.
Surmontant les contraintes topographiques, la CLO inaugure en 1862 le premier funiculaire du monde, reliant le cœur de la ville au plateau de la Croix-Rousse.
Des bateaux à vapeur commencent dès 1863 à circuler sur la Saône : construits dans le quartier de la Mouche, ils sont qualifiés de " bateaux mouches".
Incapable de faire face à cette nouvelle concurrence, la CLO disparaît.
La Compagnie des Omnibus et Tramways de Lyon (OTL) la remplace en 1879.
En deux ans, 10 lignes de tramways sont construites. Mais l'entretien des 1000 chevaux nécessaires à leur traction coûte cher et la CLO recherche des solutions alternatives…
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Lyon en bus urbain
Avec plus de 100 lignes urbaines et plus de 3000 arrêts, les bus TCL vous conduisent au plus près de votre destination.
Les arrêts sont signalés par le logo TCL. Vous y trouverez un plan de la et des ligne(s) concernées avec les horaires de passage, une évaluation des temps de parcours et le Point Service le plus proche pour acquérir vos titres de transport. S'il s'agit d'un abribus, vous disposerez en plus d'un plan complet du réseau. Lorsque votre bus arrive, pensez simplement à faire signe au conducteur car l'arrêt n'est pas systématique. En montant, n'oubliez pas de valider votre ticket ou votre abonnement, et de le conserver jusqu'à la descente. Vous pouvez aussi acheter un ticket à l'unité auprès du conducteur, à condition de disposer de monnaie.
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2 lignes de Tram à Lyon :
Ligne T1 : Montrochet / IUT Feyssine
La ligne T1 relie le quartier Charlemagne aux grands pôles administratifs (Préfecture, Communauté urbaine et Palais de Justice), aux pôles multimodaux des gares de Perrache et Part-Dieu et aux sites universitaires de la Doua
Ligne T2 : Perrache / Saint Priest Bel-Air
Avec 29 stations desservies, la ligne T2 offre une liaison directe entre Perrache et la ville de Saint-Priest, en passant par les pôles de santé de Grange Blanche, puis par le cœur de Bron.
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Lyon Travel Guide
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