70% of Erasmus+ students travel by plane1…
… because incentives are misaligned to promote sustainable travel! Right now, it is typically
➔ more expensive
➔ more complicated
to travel sustainably. We want to change this!
We call on the EU to provide free Erasmus+ tickets to all students!
The Erasmus Student Network (ESN), the biggest student organisation in Europe, and Erasmus by Train have launched a Joint Call providing a detailed proposal on how such a ticket could be designed and implemented.
An Erasmus+ ticket would not only make student’s journeys more sustainable, it would also cover students’ travel costs, making the Erasmus programme more accessible. Students would also experience the rich diversity of landscapes and cultures they pass through. A sustainable Erasmus journey can also turn students into agents of change with lasting behavioural changes in transport choices as seen in the DiscoverEU-programme2.
1.Status quo: Erasmus+ students not incentivised to travel sustainably
Currently, there are no attractive options for Erasmus+ students who wish to travel across Europe sustainably and affordably.
The Green Travel Top-Up of €50 implemented by the European Commission is a step in the right direction, but does not even come close to compensating the true differences in costs for many students who travel sustainably. Furthermore, it creates an additional bureaucratic burden for students and institutions alike.
2.Expectations of Erasmus+ students: requirements for the Erasmus+ ticket
For the Erasmus+ ticket to successfully shift journeys to more sustainable modes of transport, it has to fulfil the following criteria:
• Free of charge
• Valid for outward and return journey
• Ability to make stops along the way
• Broad validity throughout Europe
• Simple, digital ticket booking
• Free luggage
• Passenger rights
3.Feasibility: reducing ticket price
To be able to scale the ticket to all Erasmus+ students, we worked with transit companies to compile ideas that would allow for cheaper ticket prices:
• No public transit
• Booking one month in advance
• Committing to the exact travel connection beforehand
• Special quotas
In the future, the idea of an Erasmus+ ticket should be implemented across the entire Erasmus+ programme. The lessons learned from the ticket for Higher Education Mobility participants can be applied to mitigate transport-related emissions in all Erasmus+ programme action types.
5.Next step: a pilot project to evaluate the impact of the Erasmus+ ticket
We welcome the pilot project “Erasmus+ by Train” which was submitted by three RENEW MEPs and see it as a first step towards the implementation of a holistic Erasmus+ ticket.
1 Green Erasmus Partnership: Green Erasmus Report, 2022, p. 21, https://greenerasmus.org/documents/GE-report.pdf
2 Committee on Petitions: Notice to members on Petition No 0681/2021 by Jonathan Hassel (German), on behalf of ERASMUS by Train e.V., on free Interrail passes for all ERASMUS students (CM\1240451EN), 21 September 2021, p. 3, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/PETI-CM-697820_EN.pdf