• France's news in English
 

Here 'Ouigo' - France launches low-cost trains

Published: 19 Feb 2013 10:00 GMT+01:00

SNCF opened its online booking service for its new budget train service 'Ouigo' on Tuesday although the no-frills service, inspired by the budget airline model, will not start transporting passengers until April 2nd. The new trains will link Paris and Lyon to Marseille and Montpellier on the south coast.

In a bid to tempt travellers away from airlines, the company is offering tickets starting at just €10.

"This new offer is for the 4 million people living on the outskirts of Paris who are currently more likely to take their car than the train," said SNCF chief Guillaume Pepy.

 The comparisons with the EasyJet and Ryanair model do not end with cheap tickets. Trains providing the budget service will have no first-class section, no café or bar, and less free space, in order to take on 1,200 passengers, 20% more than a normal TGV service.

In addition, ‘Ouigo’ patrons can expect to have to cough up extra if they want to take a second piece of luggage on their journey across France.

In another move from the Ryanair playbook, 'Ouigo' services will depart from and arrive at stations outside the major cities of Paris and Lyon, which means travelers should factor in the added cost of connecting, for example, Marne-la-Vallée to the city of Paris itself - a 30 km journey.

Trains will arrive however in the city centre station's in Marseille and Montpellier, 3h 15min and 3h 35min after leaving Paris.

Each year 400,000 seats will go on sale at just €10 with a further one million costing just €25. Prices will rise depending on demand until they reach a maximum price of €85.

SNCF, which runs the high-speed TGV service, does already offer cut-price ticketing – in the form of 'TGV Prem's' and 'iDTGV' – but customers often have to book months ahead of time to avail of the savings. 'Ouigo', however, will allow passengers to make their travel plans a week or so in advance, but still keep their expenses low.

Despite this, SNCF director of 'voyages', Barbara Dalibard has already confidently announced that the company expects to sell one million ‘Ouigo’ seats every year.

This latest gambit from SNCF comes after Air France announced in January that it was launching 'Hop!', its low-cost challenge to Ryanair and easyJet.

For a Friday trip from Paris to Marseilles, booked three months in advance, ‘Ouigo’ compares favourably with other means of transport in terms of price.

The classic, high-speed rail journey with TGV will set you back €72, while an Air France flight and a seat with the car-sharing service ‘Covoiturage’ both cost €50.

A Ryanair ticket, at €34, is slightly cheaper than a cut-price iDTGV rail ticket, at €35.

But if economy is the priority, travellers should look to the TGV Prems service, and the newly-launched ‘Ouigo’, with both tickets costing €25, according to an SIA Conseil report published in French daily Le Figaro on Monday.

To book tickets wisit Ouigo site by clicking here.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Calais Migrants
Migrant: 'France will protect me more than UK'
Migrants building a home in the New Jungle in Calais. Photo: AFP

Migrant: 'France will protect me more than UK'

While the intense media coverage of Calais might suggest that all migrants there want to make it to the UK, an increasing number of them are now actually choosing to stay in France. READ  

Reunion wreckage
Experts confirm Réunion debris is Boeing 777
People comb the beaches of Réunion looking for more plane wreckage. Photo: AFP

Experts confirm Réunion debris is Boeing 777

Malaysian authorities confirmed on Friday that plane wreckage washed up on France's island of Réunion was from a Boeing 777, meaning the part is almost certainly from missing flight MH370. READ  

France names capital cities for new regions
Here is the full list of the new proposed capitals. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

France names capital cities for new regions

French officials have revealed their suggestions for the capital cities of the country's newest regions. But not everyone is happy about the choices. READ  

French roads set for 'Black Saturday' jams
Authorities are recommending people to delay their journeys until Sunday. Photo: Philippe Desmazes/ AFP

French roads set for 'Black Saturday' jams

Planning to head out to the countryside this weekend? Beware, the roads will be hit by millions of French motorists taking off for their August break. READ  

Striking French seamen block Calais port
Striking employees of the My Ferry Link company block the access to the port of Calais. Photo: AFP

Striking French seamen block Calais port

Hundreds of French sailors blocked the city of Calais Friday, using burning tyres to prevent access to the port in the midst of the peak holiday travel period. READ  

French court says 'non' to new cockfighting pits
France hopes to be able to stamp out cockfighting altogether eventually. Photo: Jean-Michel Andre/ AFP

French court says 'non' to new cockfighting pits

France's top court on Friday upheld a ban on new cockfighting pits, as the country seeks to stamp out the ancient bloodsport that continues in some regions despite being banned in most parts of the world. READ  

Riviera trade group: 'Leave Saudis alone'
The beach is located just below the Saudi king’s Riviera villa in Vallauris. Photo: Valery Hache/ AFP

Riviera trade group: 'Leave Saudis alone'

After weeks of uproar over a decision to let the Saudi royals “privatise” a public beach on the French Riviera, a trade group has pleaded for locals to calm down and leave the Middle Eastern visitors alone. READ  

France and Russia 'reach deal' on ditched Mistrals
Photo: Frank Perry /AFP

France and Russia 'reach deal' on ditched Mistrals

After eight months of negotiations France and Russia have reached a deal on the amount Paris must pay Moscow in compensation for the non-delivery of two Mistral warships, a senior Russian official said Friday. READ  

Google defies France on 'right to be forgotten'
Google rejected a French bid for a global right to be forgotten. Photo: AFP

Google defies France on 'right to be forgotten'

Google on Thursday rejected a French demand to globally apply the so-called right to be forgotten, which requires the company to remove links to certain information about users if asked. READ  

Extra French police help curb Calais migrant flow
French gendarmes attempt to block a migrant after he entered the Eurotunnel site. Photo: AFP

Extra French police help curb Calais migrant flow

A newly enforced police unit in northern France blocked at least 200 people from reaching the Channel Tunnel on Thursday night, as the British government prepares for an emergency meeting on Friday to grapple with the crisis. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Réunion's plane debris to be probed in France
Ten things you didn't know about Gay Paris
France eyes boost to holiday leave rights
Business & Money
French dating sites 'not protecting client privacy'
Features
Learn more about the Bayonne festival - France's wildest party
Features
What's on in France: Ten things to do in August
Features
What to see and do at the Paris Plages this summer
Saudi royals 'bar' French policewomen from beach
Take a closer look at the 560,000-year-old tooth found in France
National
Swiss army pilfers French water to give to thirsty cows
National
'B**ch' and 'brainless': French shop slurs clients
Travel
French cops rebel over order to give kids sweets
National
New measures to stop migrant deaths in Calais
Travel
Here are some of the most ridiculous comments you'll read about France
Features
Life may be about to get easier for expats settling in France
National
Burning tyres and blocking roads is just the way the French do strikes
National
Muslim tourists visiting French Alps are reminded of burqa ban
Opinion
Slim and chic: Are French women fed up of the stereotypes?
French officials defend handing public beach over to Saudi royals
Society
French kiss: Should expats in France do 'la bise' among themselves?
National
Paris commuters and tourists face summer of travel trouble
This man learnt the entire French vocabulary in nine weeks, but why?
French speed cameras snare tens of thousands of British drivers
Gallery
What kind of expat in France are you: A lover or a loather?
Society
French tweeters reveal the trials and tribulations of #GrowingupFrench
Where to find the best (and worst) quality of life in France
National
Riviera rumpus as Saudi royals grab public beach all for themselves
What we know about France's foiled terror plot
Features
Here are ten places in Paris where you can escape the summer heat
National
Coup d'état fails in France after being snubbed by military
Are shoppers in northern France the most honest in the world?
French woman fined €90 for driving in flip-flops
Cyclists in Paris get the green light to jump red
'Adieu France': Angry mum's parting rant goes viral
Franco-German rift opens over Greece and it could take time to heal
The Megavalanche: The most spectacular cycling event in France
Ex-French PM's daughter creates a buzz by going topless for photo shoot
Could Parisians be bathing in the Seine by 2024?
Paris unveils new mobile app to help non-French speakers
France declares war on public transport sex pests
So where's the best place to live in France if you want to be happy?
Opinion
Paris: The City of Light, Romance, Style and the worst loos in Europe?
National
Eight ways living in France will change your lifestyle for good
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,642
jobs available