In December 2014 the French Government approved the liberal loi Macron (the Macron Law) christened after its architect the young Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron.
The law is a mixed bag of reforms regarded in Brussels and Berlin as the Hollande Government’s most robust attempt to date to enliven the lagging French economy. The package contains a selection of laissez faire bills including: the relaxation of Sunday trading laws; the sale of up to €10 billion of state shareholdings; and the liberalisation of the country’s bus and coach industry.
The latter is likely to have a profound effect on the country’s transport routes in allowing private and foreign bus companies to extend their operations in France and in doing so stir up competition. It is projected that ticket prices may drop by as much as 70%, leading to the bus and coach industry challenging rail for the first time as the country’s default mode of cross-country transport.
Throughout Europe, the proliferation of budget coach companies such as Megabus and Eurolines has led to the vast rise in coach travel by backpackers and students travelling between Europe’s major cities. The Macron Law will only further stimulate this trend in France as the web of long-distance journeys increases. An additional 5 million more travellers are projected to travel through France by bus in the next year, leading to the creation of 22, 000 new jobs.