The French train system has been hit hard by the unlimited strike action that has been running since December 5th in an increasingly bitter dispute over pension reforms.
Although the strikes are not yet over, with several unions still out, enough staff have returned to work so that services are running to nearly a normal level.
This week the high speed TGV and budget Ouigo lines have been running as normal, while 80 percent of services were running on Intercité routes and the suburban Transilien trains.
French workers are not paid during strikes, so during long-running disputes many eventually return to work, unable to take the financial hit any longer.
But as more and more SNCF services have been running in January, many passengers have reported near-empty trains, as people simply assume that nothing is running and make alternative arrangements.
Now SNCF hopes that its massive discounting exercise – one of the biggest giveaways ever for the company – will lure customers back.
- Readers reveal: The best ways to travel around France
- Everything you need to know about taking the train in France
- How France plans to save its rural train services