June 18, 2021

SNCF announces framed prices to get the French going again

It is one of the heavy weapons of the SNCF to make again prefer the train, as an advertising slogan of the 1990s said, to the French. The railway company presented, Tuesday 1is June, its new price range for TGV and Intercity trains, supposed to be simpler and more affordable. The goal is to return to a volume strategy, desired by Jean-Pierre Farandou, CEO of SNCF, while the long-distance traffic of the national company has been durably disrupted by the Covid-19 crisis (- 42% of TGV traffic in 2020) and that it is under threat from competing operators at the end of the year.

The ambition is high: to make 20 million more trips in 2022 than before the pandemic and, in the longer term, to go from 115 million trips in 2019 to 200 million by 2030. A sizeable but crucial challenge for the SNCF. The TGV, through its tolls paid to SNCF Réseau and the redistribution of its profits, is a vital cog in the French rail system.

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Concern for transparency

The SNCF has therefore announced a train of seven measures, the most important of which is the possibility of avoiding very high prices when you buy your ticket at the last minute or on trains in high demand. This mechanism of pricing according to supply and demand, called yield management, creates an effect of high cost and an illegibility of tariffs. “We had to take off the plaster on which was inscribed” TGV expensive “”, commented Mr. Farandou.

Passengers who have not subscribed to the Avantage card will pay the full yield management rate

The cornerstone of this updated pricing is the new simplified Advantage card, available from June 17, which replaces the various previous cards (Senior, Youth, Family, Weekend). For an annual price of 49 euros, it will allow, in addition to the 30% reduction on the trip, a price cap in second class at 39 euros (short trip of less than 1 hour 30 minutes), 59 euros (between 1 h 30 and 3 hours) and 79 euros (more than 3 hours). And this even for a date of great departures or for a ticket bought the day before.

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Passengers who have not subscribed to this sesame of high speed, will pay the full rate of yield management. For example, on a Paris-Rennes in second class, 90 euros, against 39 euros with the Avantage card. “A quarter of our tickets are affected by this provision”, noted Alain Krakovitch, director of Voyages SNCF which manages the TGV and Intercités activity.

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