There may be some light at the end of tunnel for rail passengers in France.
While the strike by French rail workers is set to continue until the end of June rail operator SNCF plans to launch an “operation to reconquer” customers affected by the weeks of rail strikes launched in protest over planned reforms.
SNCF chief Guillaume Pepy said on Friday that some three million tickets for the high-speed TGV trains that link major French cities will be sold for under €40.
“It seems totally normal to show some sympathy towards our clients in order to restore confidence. We will make some commercial gestures,” he told Le Parisien newspaper.
“Between May 15th and August 31st we will offer 3 million TGV tickets for less than €40 to all destinations on all days,” he said. “The tickets will go on sale on May 15th with the idea that all available places during this period will be sold at half price.”
Discount cards for senior citizens and for young people will also be sold at a cheaper price.
Pepy also said that those rail passengers in the Paris region who hold season tickets will soon be reimbursed “at least 50 percent of the cost” for the months impacted by the strikes.
This week unions representing rail workers announced they will hold a company-wide vote next week on the government's contested overhaul for the heavily indebted group, aimed at proving that support for a long-running strike remains strong despite signs it is tapering off.