French railway company SNCF Voyageurs expects its costs to operate its TGV service to increase by 13% as a result of the fuel and energy crisis but is choosing not to pass on the full financial burden to its passengers.
From 10 January next year, ticket prices for France's high-speed TGV trains will become 5% more expensive, the company announced in a statement on Friday. However, this cost does not reflect the "unprecedented cost increase" of almost 13% that is expected next year to run the service as a result of increased energy prices.
Rather than passing on the border of the increase in costs, it will be covered by SNCF Voyageurs, an independent subsidiary of the French National Railway Company, with the introduction of a "fare shield for high-speed services."
This means that, if SNCF Voyageurs were to pass on the entire increase in these costs to its ticket prices, these would increase by almost 13% in 2023. Instead, the company will account for hundreds of millions of euros of the cost increase.
Protecting vulnerable customers
Importantly, to protect customers who are most sensitive to the impact of inflation, the minimum price scale of tickets for "Inoui" trains, which directly connect Brussels to more than 30 French cities in the north, south, east and west of France, will not be increased, and neither will the prices for the low-cost Ouigo trains, another SNCF brand.
On average, more than 1 million tickets for Ouigo trains will be sold per month will be sold for less than €25. "This will allow us to continue to offer low prices, particularly during sales openings, at the same level as at present," the company's statement read.
The company added that this decision was also made so it can continue to support the "growing demand for ecological mobility, and encourage the modal shift towards low-carbon travel."
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"Our intention is to protect the most vulnerable populations and young people from the price increases," said SNCF Voyageurs top executive Christophe Fanichet.
Additionally, it will freeze the prices of various benefit schemes, such as its Advantage Card, Max Jeune and Senior passes.