• France's news in English
Eurostar to lower fares but only if charges drop
File photo: Eurostar

Eurostar to lower fares but only if charges drop

Sophie Inge · 22 Jul 2013, 14:23

Published: 22 Jul 2013 14:23 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Eurostar, the high-speed rail service which connects Britain with France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel may lower its ticket prices if Eurotunnel agrees to lower their charges, the train operator’s chief has confirmed in an interview.

The comments come following increasing pressure from the European Commission over “excessive pricing” for crossing the tunnel by train.

In June the EU told Britain and France to act to bring down charges for trains running via the under-sea Channel tunnel, saying both passengers and freight operators were paying too much.

And if the countries fail to come up with a solution by August 20th they could incur the wrath of the European Court of Justice.

In March Eurostar appealed to Eurotunnel for more “transparency” with regard to costs and charges, but, according to Petrovic, they have yet to get a response.

“We’ve been asking for more transparency for years from Eurotunnel, without getting a response,” Petrovic told French daily Les Échos in an interview on Sunday. “Today, the question of charges, which amount to €50 per passenger for a return ticket, that is, 25 percent of the price of the ticket, is becoming critical for our strategy and development.”

At a European committee meeting earlier this month, Eurotunnel said that lowering prices would change the “economic equation” and would lead to employees losing their jobs.

But Petrovic denied that this was the case, telling the paper: “Our proposal is not to put Eurotunnel and its employees in danger. But currently only half the capacity of the tunnel is being used. Increasing traffic would lead to an increase in revenue which would compensate for the lowering of fees.”

This opinion was seconded by EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas last month who said in a statement: "The Channel Tunnel is not being used to its full capacity because of these excessive charges.”

Meanwhile, Eurostar has ambitions to expand its network and connect London with more far-flung destinations including Holland, Germany and Switzerland.

Story continues below…

“That’s where Eurostar can grow,” said Petrovic, “but only with the politics of competitive pricing, which is very difficult to establish with the current level of charges.”

Despite complaints over Eurotunnel's charges, 2013 has been a successful year for Eurostar. According to La Tribune, traffic has increased by two percent with 4.9 passengers, leading to a seven percent increase in turnover.

Do you think Eurostar is too expensive? Let us know in the comments below. 

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Is Marks & Spencer to close Champs-Elysées store?
Photo: AFP

Is it goodbye to crumpets, jam, and English biscuits?

After Calais, France faces growing migrant crisis in Paris
Photo: AFP

While all the focus has been on the closure of the Jungle in Calais, France must deal with the thousands of migrants sleeping rough in Paris. And their numbers are growing.

Restaurant boss suspected of kidnapping Cannes millionaire
The Nice residence of the president of Cannes' Grand Hotel, Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: AFP

A restaurant owner 'harbouring a grudge', apparently.

Le Thought du Jour
Vive le pont - The best thing about French public holidays
Photo: AFP

The UK might have guaranteed public holidays, but France has "les ponts".

What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
jobs available