The SNCF ensures that all its trains should run this summer and points to an extraordinary enthusiasm for the train this summer.
“Sold out”, “not bookable”… For the past few weeks, people who want to book a TGV for the holidays have been tearing their hair out.
On social networks, the messages are multiplying. Especially since the trains sometimes seem all full on one day and this while the school holidays have not yet started.
The most tense destinations seem to be from Paris the South-East, Brittany and the South-West.
All the more surprising that even the mid-week trains are also full. Impossible for example to book a Paris-Marseille this Wednesday June 22 or this Thursday June 23. Usually it is Fridays that can be difficult to access, not the midweek trains without a bridge.
Would the SNCF have undersized its train offer for this start of summer? Joined by BFM Business, the company assures that it is doing its best but that it is constrained by its number of trains.
“All the trains are running”
“All the trains will be in circulation this summer: 800 TGV and Intercités and 14,000 regional trains every day, at least as many as in 2019, assures a spokesperson for the company. All available trains will be released, there one step of trains in reserve.”
The company even indicates that SNCF Voyageurs has anticipated demand with 500,000 additional places which would have been offered on high speed for this summer compared to summer 2019, in particular on the most requested routes.
The difficulties will come rather from the very sharp increase in demand. According to the SNCF, 6.5 million TGV tickets were sold for the months of July and August. A level that exceeds that of pre-crisis.
“This is a level of reservations up by more than +10% compared to 2019 on the same date, indicates the company. This good dynamic is in continuity with the month of May which was already up compared to May 2019. “
For TERs, the increase would even be 20% compared to the same period of 2019.
A craze which may seem paradoxical even though the price of tickets would be rising sharply according to INSEE (which the SNCF denies).
The company explains these reservation difficulties by a greater attraction this year for travel to France. With the difficulties related to purchasing power and in particular energy costs, the French would have given up going far and would have rushed on train tickets.
The “revenge travel” is also put forward by the SNCF. After two years of health crisis, there would have been a catch-up effect of trips not made in the last two years.
Aware of travellers’ dissatisfaction, the company will launch a new OuiGo ticket exchange service with the start-up Fairlyne at the end of June.
“We have a lot of trains that are full, especially in the summer, about 40% (…), admitted last week at the VivaTech show Florian Etchanchu, manager of supply strategy at Ouigo. But we know that we have additional customers who would like to travel with us.”
Customers just have to cross their fingers for travelers to cancel their trips or find another means of transport…