AIT International Club
English-speaking ex-pats living and sharing the good life in Toulouse, France
AIT Guidebook: Public Transportation Print E-mail

As with all cities of size, public transportation in Toulouse and its suburbs is both widely available and varied. Buses, trains, taxis and the metro serve the city, its suburbs, and, in the case of buses and trains, other cities in France. Toulouse also has an International Airport at Blagnac.

AIRPORT / CENTRE VILLE BUS SHUTTLE

Shuttle buses between Blagnac Airport and central Toulouse, with a stop at the Gare Matabiau train station, depart every twenty minutes on week-days and at a reduced frequency on the weekend. At the airport, tickets may be purchased at the shuttle bus counter located on the arrivals level between Halls 1 & 2, directly on the bus when departing from Toulouse center, or at the Gare Routière (the bus terminal next to the train station). At the time of publication, the one-way fare was less than 5,00€.

Bus stops (town to airport):
• Gare Routière (near train station)
• Avenue Jean Jaurès (near Air France)
• Place Jeanne d’Arc (Boulevard Strasbourg)
• Boulevard Lascrosses (near Hôtel Mercury)

TISSEO/SEMVAT (LOCAL PUBLIC BUSES)

TISSEO/SEMVAT offices are open Monday to Friday from 8:30-18:30 and on Saturdays from 8:30-12:30 (Tel: 05 61 41 70 70). Offices are located at Gare Matabiau, Place Jeanne d’Arc, Place Capitole, and Place Esquirol. Bus maps, available at TISSEO/SEMVAT offices, are color-coded to denote in which zone the bus will make stops. There are two types of bus maps available. One is for a specific bus number (example: BUS 23) and includes a map and timetable of that specific route. The other is a map of all bus routes with no timetable. A map and bus schedule are posted at each bus stop. You can also download bus route sand schedules from tisseo.fr. A complete map of all routes are available from there as well.

A bus/metro ticket, with a magnetic strip on the back, is the size of a credit card and can be used for either the bus or the metro. One fare entitles the holder to one transfer within an hour. There are many types available:
• un déplacement (a single ride)
• un ticket aller-retour (a round-trip ticket valid for one day)
• dix déplacements (ten rides ticket)
• ticket journalier (unlimited number of rides for one full day)
• abonnement 7 jours (unlimited number of rides for one full week)
• abonnement 31 jours (unlimited number of rides for one full month)

The fare for children is the same as for adults, as is the fare for animals that accompany you. Tickets can be purchased on the bus or at many tabacs in Toulouse and surrounding communities, as well as SEMVAT offices. Students should request a Carte Clé that gives them the right to buy reduced-rate tickets. You can get reduced rate ticket for children as well, but it requires getting a Tisseo ID Card. More information can be found at tisseo.fr

Merely waiting at a bus stop does not guarantee the bus will stop for you. As the bus approaches, raise your arm to hail the bus. Once aboard the bus, all tickets must be validated. To validate a ticket, insert it into the validation machine in the direction of the printed arrow. Keep the validated ticket until the end of your journey as fare inspectors randomly board the buses to verify that all passengers are holding validated tickets.

Request the bus to stop by pressing the red button located on the chrome poles throughout the bus. An arrêt demandé (stop demanded) will signal the driver to stop at the next bus stop. On most buses, the driver usually controls the opening and closing of the doors. On some buses, a button must be pushed to open the doors; such a button will be well marked and located near the doors.

METRO (SUBWAY SYSTEM)
‘www.tisseo.fr’

The Toulouse Metro opened its first line (Ligne A) in 1993. Line B opened in June 2007. It is 16 km long, from Borderouge in the north to Ramonville-Saint-Agne in the south. The junction between lines A & B will be in the station Jean Jaurès. The C line is really a TER train that can be taken to Colomiers from the Arenes train station, found next to the Arenes Metro station. It is considered a part of the metro system and you use a metro ticket to travel on it. You can find the schedule for line C by looking at sncf.fr, then find ter.fr. Arenes is called Toulouse Arenes as a station in that system.
The Metro system operates from 05:00 until 00:30, with trains leaving at 2-10 minute intervals, depending upon the time of day. The departure of last and first trains are listed right next to where the grid would close down on each station. Parking is available at certain stations (Jolimont, Basso Cambo, Arènes) that is free to users of the Metro or bus systems. Be sure to hold onto the ticket, as it is used to open the barrier at the exit of the parking lot!

Buses from the suburbs do not enter Toulouse-center; their last stop is the metro. A previously validated bus ticket may be used for the metro when transfering from the bus, providing you transfer within 40-minutes. Maps and details of the system are available at any metro station. Ticket prices are the same as with local buses and the tickets are interchangeable.

Lost Property for both METRO and TISSEO, telephone: 05 61 41 70 70

REGIONAL BUS TOURS

Tour buses for traveling throughout the region depart from:
• Gare Routière des Voyageurs (next to the Matabiau train station)
70 boulevard Pierre Semard, 31500 Toulouse (Tel: 05 61 61 67 67)
• Courrier de la Garonne, 133 chemin du Sang de Serp, 31200 Toulouse
(Tel: 05 62 72 37 23)

There are also bus tours of Toulouse and the surrounding areas available from the Tourist Center located in Charles de Gaulle Square, behind Place Capitole.

SNCF -(TRAINS)

The main railway station in Toulouse is Gare Matabiau, 64 boulevard Pierre Semard, 31000 Toulouse, (Tel: 08 36 35 35 35/08 36 67 68 69). It has a very efficient Information Center, (English-speaking), open from 09:00-19:30, Monday-Saturday. The international window, however, closes at 17:30. The other two train stations in Toulouse are: Gare St. Agne, 72 Avenue de l’URSS, and Gare St. Cyprien, Avenue Sans.

Train schedules and reservations are available at SNCF offices located in each train station and on the web site ‘www.sncf.fr’. A parking garage (Parcotrain) is situated next to the arrival hall at Gare Matabiau.

Billets (tickets) can be purchased at guichets (ticket counters) or via machines located in the station; ticket machines accept VISA credit cards. To avoid waiting time, it is recommended to purchase tickets in the small SNCF railway stations located in the suburbs. There is also an SNCF kiosk in the Purpan Carrefour shopping center, where train tickets can be purchased, as well as “train travel packages”. Children under four years of age travel free-of-charge and children between four and twelve travel at half-price. For details on the many types of reductions available, inquire at the SNCF information desk.

Trains have two types of voitures (cars), “first class” and “second class”. Each car and seat is identified by a number, (for example: Voiture 45, place 89 (Car 45 Seat 89)). Some seats are tagged as réservé (reserved) and others non réservé (un-reserved). If you do not have reservations and select a reserved seat, you may be asked to move should a person arrive who holds a reservation for that seat. Each car has a destination marked on its exterior. If traveling without reservations, pay close attention to the destination marked on the individual car, as trains sometimes split and certain cars are removed without notice to the unwary traveler.

When purchasing a ticket, specify the date, number of people, destination, aller simple or aller et retour (one way or round trip), and first or second class. Tickets may generally be used within 30 days of purchase. Tickets must be validated in the orange punch machines before boarding the train; round trip tickets must be validated again for the return trip.

Buying a ticket guarantees entry to the train, but does not guarantee a seat. When a réservation (reservation) is purchased at the same time as a billet (ticket), both are often combined into one physical ticket, which must be validated in the orange punch machines. However, if the reservation is purchased separately, it will appear to be a ticket, but is not; it is only a reservation, and must be accompanied by a separate ticket. (Reservations separate from the ticket do not have to be validated in the punch machines.) All seats on the TGV (high-speed train) require a reservation, but are optional for non-TGV trains. (Reservations are also required for travel on a couchette (sleeper), and there is an extra charge). All reservations must be made more than 24-hours in advance. If travelling with a family of 4-6 people, a “family corner” may be reserved for more privacy at no additional charge.

SNCF offers a Train/voiture (Train/Car) combination package between Toulouse/Paris and Toulouse/Calais whereby your voiture travels on the same train as you. This concept is particularly attractive for the late night (23:00) train departure as sleeping accomodations can be reserved. However, as space for cars is limited, certain pre-departure logistics need to be arranged. For more information, contact an SNCF information/reservation center.

A Train/Car service is also available for other destinations within France, whereby the car is left in advance at the departure station and awaits your arrival at your final destination. Check for reservation conditions.

To travel with your car to London, call an English-speaking representative at Service Eurostar (Tel: 08 36 35 35 39). There is excellent train service from Toulouse to other cities within France, as well as to Italy, with overnight trains to Milan and Rome.

Riding a TGV direct train to Paris Gare Montparnasse takes 5 hours via Bordeaux. Considering transfer at airports, this may be a viable option to flying. The ride will be at regular speed (130 km/h) from Toulouse to Tours, and then, from Tours to Paris, at grande vitesse (300 km/h) on special tracks.

Lost Property, telephone: 05 61 10 14 17

TAXIS

There are several taxi stands located throughout Toulouse, day and night, at such places as Place Wilson, Gare Matabiau, and Place Esquirol. During the day only, there are also taxi stands in operation at Place du Capitole, Place Jeanne d’Arc, Place des Carmes and Place St. Cyprien. A trip from Toulouse center to the airport (or reverse) will cost between 20,00€ 25,00€, depending upon the point of pick-up or destination. If traveling with luggage, a separate fee will normally be added to the fare. Tips are appreciated, although not compulsory.

To make a reservation by phone: (all offer 24-hour service)
• Taxi Radio Toulousain (Tel: 05 61 42 38 38)
• Association Taxis Toulouse (Tel: 05 61 35 89 00 or 06 09 33 25 83)
• Capitole Taxi (Tel: 05 34 25 02 50)
• Taxi Aéroport (Tel: 05 61 30 02 54 or 06 09 30 84 35)