EXPLAINED: How certain train fares in France are set to rise

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EXPLAINED: How certain train fares in France are set to rise
An SNCF worker attends passengers next to a TGV (high speed train) at the railway station in Bordeaux in 2021 (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP)

France's national rail service SNCF announced on Friday it would be increasing some fare prices for TGV high speed trains and some regional services.


After several weeks of assessing how to manage additional costs due to the energy crisis, the French national rail service, SNCF, said it planned increase fares by an average of five percent for its TGV services and regional trains.

The rise in ticket prices will begin in 2023, CEO of SNCF Voyageurs, Christophe Fanichet told BFMTV on Friday.

"We are facing additional costs of 13 percent in 2023, so we will have to bear more than half of this," Fanichet said, adding that the rail operator could have opted to reduce services but "did not want to do so."


Not all tickets will become more expensive - the rise in pricing will primarily affect "maximum fares" - or tickets booked at the last minute. Additionally, "Business Premiere" tickets will automatically increase by an average of five percent.

Fanichet told BFMTV that "sometimes [the increase] will be less than [five percent], sometimes more" because the adjustments in price will be made through a process called 'yield management', which is a marketing technique that structures fares based on demand and timing.

READ MORE: How to find cheap train tickets in France

Certain frequent traveller offers will also be impacted - such as the "Liberté" card, and the "Max Actif" and "Max Actif +" offers.

All train riders in France will be impacted by the rail service's change to its exchange and refund conditions. During the pandemic, passengers were allowed to exchange and refund tickets up to three days prior to departure. However, starting in February, this period will be extended to seven days prior to departure.

At the request of Transport Minister Clément Beaune, SNCF agreed to maintain a "price shield" by maintaining Ouigo - or low-cost service - tickets at the same fare structure (meaning these tickets will not increase in price in 2023).

Additionally, the minimum prices, or those charged at the start of ticket sales, will not be increased. These moves are intended to protect lower income customers from price shocks.

Some discount cards will also remain at their current pricing in 2023 - for instance, the Carte Avantage will stay at their current price of €49. 


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