SNCF took a while to cotton on to the idea of low cost but now it seems it is embracing it at full speed.
On Thursday it announced its Ouigo service, which essentially offers cheap TGV tickets on its fleet of trains would be extended.
Set up in April 2013 Ouigo’s light-blue and pink trains were an answer to low-cost airlines with trains linking the outskirts of Paris to the south of France, namely the cities of Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier.
From the beginning 2016 the trains will now link stations in the north of France: Tourcoing, and the TGV station Haute-Picardie near Amiens, as well as cities in the west of France Nantes, Rennes, Le Mans and Angers.
The current Ouigo station in Paris is the TGV station at Marne-la-Vallée to the east of the city, but from 2016 the trains will also serve Charles-de-Gaulle aiport and Massy TGV station to the south of the capital.
Just like most low cost airlines, the Ouigo service links stations outside cities and there is a limit on the amount of luggage you can take on board and there’s no bar on board.
Each year 400,000 seats 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 is also set to triple its fleet of coaches, that form part of the low-cost service Ouibus, which will offer coach tickets as low as €5.
The move is aimed at fighting off competition from rival companies who are set to enter the market after a recent reform opened up coach sector.