Airport Tourist Tram Scam – Redux

Last Updated on May 6, 2024 by Allison Coe

Nice TramwayBack in July, I posted about the new rip-off tourist airport tram ticket (10€ when it only costs 1.70€ a trip for everyone else!) and how to get around it by buying a normal tram card from the machines at the first tram stop outside the airport (Grand Arenas).

The good news is that the word on the workaround has gotten out… but the bad news is, not just to arriving passengers!   The Grand Arenas tram stop is now attracting pickpockets and scammers, often teenage girls, that hone in on tired luggage-laden tourists huddled around a ticket machine.  In accented English, one sweetly offers to help …while her friend is helping herself to your sweets!  Not a great way to start your trip to Nice…

QR code for tram ticketsDo you have an Android phone? If yes, you can skip this problem altogether.   Just download the free tickets app from the Google Store, sign up for a virtual rechargeable tram card (saving the 2€ card fee!), and charge your virtual card up with a few trips; you can do all of this from your home country before you leave. Then when you arrive at the airport just get on the tram and wave your phone over the ticket machine to validate your voyage.  Super easy.   But again, this only works with Android, not iPhones (only because iPhones won’t work to validate the trips) and only for 1 ticket at a time, so if you are a couple, you both need an Android phone.

If you only have an iPhone and need to do the Grand Arenas shuffle, just know that the ticket machine looks exactly the same as the airport ones, but offers all the choices instead of just one.  The machine is in multiple languages, easy to use, and takes credit cards (but you are safer to use contactless cards or ApplePay so no one spies your pin code).  While at the machine have your backpack in front, and if you are two people, have one do the machine and the other on pickpocket alert, and beware of friendly strangers!

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