SNCF Voyageurs broke its 2022 record this summer with 24 million passengers on the main lines – TGV and Intercités in France – a figure up 4%, said Thursday its CEO Christophe Fanichet. The 2022 vintage had already been “an exceptional summer” with a catch-up effect after the health crisis and “a real desire for the train”, commented the manager before the Association of Transport and Mobility Journalists (AJTM).
The Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean acclaimed
“The French, for a long time, take the train in the summer, and they have largely anticipated their trips”, reserving earlier, he commented. One out of two long-distance tickets was purchased more than 25 days before departure. The TGV occupancy rate exceeded 80%, and 40% of them were full. The order of magnitude was the same last year, but SNCF Voyageurs sold 450,000 additional seats this year.
The Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean were particularly popular this summer, while growth is driven by “green destinations” including the Alps, Burgundy and Alsace, noted Christophe Fanichet. “We have not seen a drop in the number of passengers on our trains with the arrival of competition” from the Italian companies Trenitalia and Spanish Renfe, noted the CEO of SNCF Voyageurs, for whom “it is leisure that boosts rail traffic”. Business travel is still down 10 to 15% from pre-Covid, he regretted.
6 million passengers for international TGVs
International high-speed trains (including Eurostar, Thalys and Ouigo in Spain) at the same time transported 6 million passengers (+4%) and night trains 215,000 rail sleepers (+15%). As for the TER, they saw their attendance increase by 10% in July and August, with spectacular performances in Occitanie, Pays-de-la-Loire and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.
Asked about the price of TGVs, which is often considered high, Christophe Fanichet pointed out that one out of two leisure tickets was sold this summer for less than 45 euros. One in two travelers used an Avantage card or took a low-cost TGV Ouigo, according to him. If the rules for calculating the price of tickets with “yield management” (prices increasing as the train fills up) have not been modified, “the price increase curve has been anticipated by eight days” because the French prepared their trips earlier, he explained.
SNCF Voyageurs has increased the price of TGV tickets on average – which is not subsidized – by 5% this year, while its costs have increased by 13%, recalled Christophe Fanichet. It is still too early to talk about price increases for next year because the group’s budget has not been finalized, he added.