Home > France, Lyon, travel > Lyon’s airport gets a “tram-train” link to downtown

Lyon’s airport gets a “tram-train” link to downtown

from Rhônexpress website

For those of you who have traveled to Lyon and resented taking the Satobus shuttle buses from Lyon St. Exupéry Airport to downtown Lyon, you now have a more modern alternative that gets you downtown (Gare Part Dieu, the main train station) in under 30 minutes. You can read an article in French about this here in Le Point.

Rhônexpress is the name of the brand new system, and you can find out more from its website, in French. Soon you will be able to buy tickets online.

The line is 22km (13.7 miles) long, it shares part of its track with the T3 tramway of the urban network TCL, it reaches a speed of 100km/hr (about 60 mph) and each of its 6 cars can hold up to 76 passengers. The tram-train will run from 5am to midnight, with service every 15 minutes.

As the article mentions, the ticket price will be higher than the 8.90€ for one-way Satobus; a one-way ticket costs 13€ (round-trip 23€), but if you buy a booklet of 6 tickets, the individual ticket price goes down to 11€. There are discounts being discussed at the moment for students and families (as is the norm for most transport), maybe free for under-12, as well as special rates for a combo TCL-Rhônexpress card, and possibly an SNCF-Rhônexpress card or rates. As for a combined rate for flight-Rhônexpress, however, that is less feasible, as the article highlights, because in case one or the other is late, there would be disagreements about reimbursing passengers based on responsibility.

This article quotes authorities of the project who expect to have 1 million passengers in the service’s first year. You can also read a background article in English here.

In any case, this is a welcome addition to the Lyon transport landscape, and I know I’ll be happy to take it.

Until then, bon voyage!

  1. Matt Holdrege
    August 9th, 2010 at 15:40 | #1

    Frankly this is a very small improvement which results in higher prices. It’s almost a crime that Lyon Airport has a major TGV station that serves none of the people who actually live in or near Lyon airport. The Lyon airport is the only airport for most of Burgundy, Franche Compte, Auvergne and of course Rhone-Alps. But the trains that reach the airport only go to the east. The only northbound train bypasses all the customers of this airport and heads up to Paris. So we still have to take slow trains to Part-Dieu and a slow (for most of the way) tram to the airport. I am not impressed.

    • August 9th, 2010 at 15:46 | #2

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks for your comment. I agree that it’s pricey but I think it’s a nice option to have in the medium term. Hopefully they will develop transport between the airport TGV station and regional centers like Lyon, Grenoble, Dijon, Clermont-Ferrand, Valence…this would be preferable of course. Only time will tell…

  2. David George
    August 12th, 2010 at 09:03 | #3


    Geneve airport perhaps better serves Burgundy and Franche Compte and has a rail link right to the airport. There is a new TGV line going in to Geneva (although not the airport) which will cut journey times from places like Macon.

    It is true that the TGV station at Lyon is a white elephant. Even trains to Grenoble are a bit thin on the ground.

  3. August 25th, 2010 at 15:59 | #4

    Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

  4. August 30th, 2010 at 19:06 | #5

    What a great resource!

  5. fred Tuduri
    October 8th, 2010 at 16:15 | #6

    quel belle arnaque! moins bien et presque 2 fois plus cher! vous me direz que c’etait déja cher. lyon n’a pas trouver mieux que d’arnaquer les touristes.. Quel souvenir vont’il guarder de cette ville qui n’attire déja pas beaucoup.. c’est moins cher de partir de geneve donc puisqu’en plus on peut détaxer ses produits.. moi, dans le choix de mes aeroports de départ je prendrai maintenant le tarif bus en compte! aller retour Lyon-londre 1,77€ + AR lyon lyon 26 €. Y a T’il un monopole comme pour interville et la sncf? parce que lorsque la sncf perd son monopole, le transport en france coutera 5 fois moins cher mais ouvrir une entreprise de tranport airport à lyon c’est faire fortune!

    • October 8th, 2010 at 17:08 | #7

      Merci de vos commentaires, Fred. Je suis d’accord que c’est cher, et c’est dommage que Lyon ne soit pas aussi connu que cette ville devrait l’être, puisque c’est une ville magnifique, j’y habitais je connais. Mais je comprends votre frustration avec les tarifs. Je crois que la ville essaie de trouver un équilibre entre qualité de service, un désir d’impressionner les hommes et femmes d’affaires en déplacement, et une envie de mettre en place un moyen de transport plus efficace que le Satobus. J’espère qu’ils baissent les tarifs après un certain temps, pour autant.

  6. Rui
    January 13th, 2011 at 12:20 | #8

    Charging 13 Euros for a 22 km trip is a rip-off indeed! Is there any alternative public transport between the St-Ex airport and Lyon center?

  7. bayla biskin
    March 18th, 2011 at 21:50 | #10

    Please give me schedule of tram from part-dieu station to st exupery airport. we need a very early morning time. Thank you

    • March 18th, 2011 at 23:56 | #11


      Thank you for your message, I did not see it until now.

      If you look on this site: http://www.rhonexpress.fr/presentation/?rub_code=79

      You’ll see that the first tram departs Part Dieu (behind the station near the parking lot) at 5am, getting to the airport at 5:30am. The next one leaves at 5:30am, arriving at 6am. Then 6am, 6:15, 6:30, 6:45…

      I hope this helps. Bon voyage!


  1. August 16th, 2010 at 10:55 | #1

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