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France's SNCF launches flash sale for €19 train tickets

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
France's SNCF launches flash sale for €19 train tickets
(Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP)

As France's national rail service SNCF increased its fare pricing by approximately 5 percent, the company has also launched a flash sale on budget tickets.

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France's national rail service, SNCF, increased ticket prices for many customers on Monday, with an average rise of five percent across the board.

While some seasonal tickets and low-cost options will be spared, many travellers in France will see their train journeys become a bit pricier in 2023.

SNCF announced plans to raise ticket prices in November, when the CEO of SNCF Voyageurs, Christophe Fanichet told BFMTV that the company was "facing additional costs of 13 percent in 2023," largely due to energy prices rising.

The company told Franceinfo that its electricity costs had increased by 180 percent. 

As a result, Fanichet said the rail operator had opted to reduce services but “did not want to do so.”

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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.

The rise in ticket pricing on Monday, however, came at the same time as the rail operator launched a flash sale on low price tickets, called "Connect Days."

For two days, Tuesday, January 10th and Wednesday, January 11th, SNCF announced it would offer Ouigo tickets to several other French cities from Paris for a maximum of €19 for journeys taking place during the month of January.

The sale came as most of the country prepared for the start of the winter sales (soldes) set to begin on January 11th.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about France’s 2023 winter sales

As for the tickets that will be spared from price rises, the SNCF agreed to put into place 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.

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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.

On the other hand, however, prices for TGV and Intercity trains will increase. Customers will likely see this most clearly when buying tickets at the last minute and when paying for journeys on popular routes. Additionally, business trips will be particularly impacted by the price rises.

READ MORE: How to find cheap train tickets in France

Concretely, according to Franceinfo, for passengers taking a journey from Lille (Nord) to Paris, it will cost about €3 more, and for a journey from Paris to Bordeaux it will cost about €5 more than it did in 2022. 

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