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French rail passengers must now pay for ticket changes

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French rail passengers must now pay for ticket changes
Photo: AFP
10:40 CEST+02:00
From now on passengers on French trains will have to pay for last-minute changes to their tickets.

The days of being able to make last minute changes to your train journeys in France free of charge are over.

From May 1st rail operator SNCF has implemented a change to their ticket cancellation and changes policy which will bring an end to a system whereby passengers could make last-minute changes for no fee.

Changes can still be made free of charge up to 30 days before the date of travel but after this deadline passengers will have cough up a €5 surcharge to change their tickets.

That charge will rise to 40 percent of the cost of the ticket if changes are made within 24 hours of the scheduled travel time.

However there will be maximum fees of €15 set for TGV trains and €12 for Intercité trains, per journey, so a change to both legs of the journey could cost up to €30, if made at the last minute.

SNCF claims the aim is not just to make money out of passengers but to try and increase the occupancy of their long distance services, which for the TGV high speed trains only stands at 65 percent.

The rail operator wants to discourage the practice of people buying cheap tickets well in advance but then making last minute changes, which has left them with seats becoming free at the last minute, but too late for them to sell on.

Bosses say the introduction of surcharges will allow them to offer discount tickets closer to the travel date.

For those with SNCF discount cards such as for young people or pensioners, however, the penalties will be less as they.

Holders will still be able to cancel their tickets up to two days before travel without having to pay a penalty. Professional customers will also keep the perk.

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