In a video broadcasted during an European conference on long distance coach lines organized by the International Road Union (IRU) February 29, 2012 in Brussels, the French Minister for Transport, Thierry Mariani, "hoped to put his bill on national coach lines at a coming Council of Ministers". He failed to.
February 29 was the last day when the bill, long awaited by transport operators (including the French railway company SNCF who works closely on a coach project named "Speed" - read below
) could have been presented. Thierry Mariani was not in Brussels and his bill was neither on the agenda in Paris.
"Many bills are waiting for the Conseil d'Etat approval (ie independent judges who examine bills and laws in France), the deregulation bill should be presented during a next Council of Ministers in March," says Thierry Mariani spokesman.
"The rail network can not serve all French territories (...) Southern Europe countries (such as Spain and Portugal ie) with a major use of long distance coach transport should inspire us", said the French minister for Transport. The bill clearly states that domestic long distance coach lines should not affect any existing rail or road service, either public or private.
If authorized, this new transport market will then be very regulated in France. Today, long distance passengers transport market is highly regulated because of the traditional monopoly of SNCF.
But the last chance for this bill intending to deregulate long distance domestic coach lines was late February because the parliamentary session ends March 6 and will only start again next July. With a new government after presidential election May 6. What will happen to the project then ?
As a reminder, in October 2011, the French government has already authorized the opening of 230 express coach routes, as part of international lines (cabotage - read article on the subject