Following the success of our last article on “the disadvantages of hidden card Advantage,” we continue to decipher the evolution of this new pricing on the TGV. Either on price or on the terms and conditions of use, the new cards subscriptions with significant changes, to the detriment of users. We see this even in some cases a colossal increase in the price of the tickets, plus restrictions very costly to change its schedule.

Rachel Picard, who is the patron saint of Travel, in a train, she thought seriously that a 27% increase in the price of the ticket for the subscribers frequently goes unnoticed? Imagine that a communication campaign carried out efficiently sufficient to pass the pill? An example: the new map is no longer called “Frequency” but “Freedom”. This ready to smile when you know that this card has more constraints than its predecessor, and that the ticket prices are on the rise. The SNCF offers in before a reduction of 45% in the first and 60 % in the second compared to the ticket “business first”, while the old subscriber price Frequency guaranteed a 50% reduction compared to the full fare in second and first. For comparison purposes, we asked to Voyages SNCF the new percentage of reduction compared to the ticket second “pro” is now reserved for businesses. In vain.

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We have previously studied the new fares on the Paris-Lyon line, now, let’s take the example of Paris-Nantes, a line heavily used by subscribers. On some trains, in seconds, the price rose to 45€ with the old card Frequency to 53€ with the card of Freedom. Or 18 % increase, or 16 € for round trip. For a traveller making a return trip per week – and that is the average for subscribers – this represents an increase of almost € 800 per year. Suffice to say that with such an increase, the SNCF was very quickly refunded the price drop of the card is € 200 today will cost 399 €.

” In some cases, the price of the tickets card Freedom may actually be higher than that of the notes frequency. “

Voyages SNCF

But this line is not the only one impacted. A user explained to us that between Lyon and Roissy, for example, the tickets before the arrival of the card Freedom were between 44 € and 52 € depending on the departure time of the train (heritage of the old off-peak periods and full). Today, the unique price is 56 €, or 27,27 % increase on the lowest fare and 7, a 69 % increase on the price the most high. “In some cases, the price of the tickets card Freedom may actually be higher than that of the notes Frequency, of a few euros,” acknowledges a spokesman for Voyages SNCF.

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“To the reverse of the announcements and expectations of the customers, the flexibility of use of the train deteriorates,” says the National Federation of Associations of Transport Users (FNAUT). And to add: “According to the SNCF, all the tickets are now exchangeable and refundable, but the new procedures are more expensive and more restrictive, including for commuting to work or frequent (Freedom): the tolerance train before – and-after” no change of tickets is removed.” This situation illustrates the new direction taken by Voyages SNCF, which focuses the marketing to the operational.

The peace of mind of the passengers? Probably the least of worries of Rachel Picard and his teams. On the contrary, the system becomes increasingly rigid. And that the subscribers Freedom to no longer have the right to take what’s called the trains “supervisors” (before or after booking) is significant of the tightening of terms and conditions of use of the train. Now, they must go through the reservation system to change their ticket, even if its price would be the same and that it would remain the place in the process.

call Centres of SNCF submerged

The call centers of the SNCF are overwhelmed by unhappy customers. But to the operators as to the journalists, the SNCF has provided “language elements” on the merits of these new cards, evading the points at issue. A passenger who would take the next train, without having previously changed his reservation (even if the ticket is the same price and even if there is space) must be considered as “without ticket” says the Memo distributed to all of the controllers, we have been able to consult.

The finding of higher prices and restrictions of practice also applies to the new cards Advantage. The passengers, senior citizens, for example, will pay for the tickets 10% more expensive, even if they have the right now to travel with three children with 60 % discount. If on the paper the offer is attractive, the number of users travelling alone is in reality very superior to those with children. This card is therefore to the advantage of… The SNCF! This allows it to increase its revenue per unit, therefore its turnover. This seems to be the only goal of the national company, which operates more like a private company.

Finally, the decision the most surprising and the most radical, the one for which the economic impact in France will be the more felt, is the elimination of the tariff changes free of charge in the second. Now, only companies with a contract with the SNCF, will be entitled to this rate. Individuals who wish to take the train without constraint will only have access to rates that can be modified with the new conditions. And they have become draconian. An SME sending an employee travelers must decide its own return time. If he has to change the train, a surcharge of 15 € in addition to the adjustment of tariff will be operated. Unless you subscribe to the pre-contract business with the SNCF, with a Siret number on the dedicated website. In short, in place of a ticket purchase does just that, the SNCF makes the customer journey professional.

tickets, “editable”, which in reality are not

Why the tickets changed without fees, more expensive but offering more freedom of use have been removed? Response convoluted Travel SNCF: “In a logic of simplicity for our leisure customers: their allow to easily identify between a offers basic exchangeable as provided in 2nd class, offers comfort-exchangeable under any condition, in 1st class, and a premium 100% flexible in 1st class”. This argument masks a reality: fewer passengers change train, the more the work is easy for the station.

In addition, it must be noted that for the SNCF, this is not the passenger, who may change his ticket but the one who has paid. Imagine that a framework to Lyon wants to change her return ticket provided by his company: to pay 15 euros penalty and the readjustment tariff, it will need to be in possession of the payment card company that was used to purchase. Otherwise, he would have to request the refund of the original ticket to make another at his expense. Suffice to say that the SNCF sells tickets, “editable”, which in fact are not.

“In France, the traveller is now in the service of the SNCF.”

National Federation of Associations of Transport Users

The holders of a discount card that had the penalties reduced in the event of a change of trains lose this benefit, “for the sake of simplicity, a single rule for all tickets recreation”, dare without laughing Voyages SNCF. “Our customers go back to their need for freedom, and we regularly say to want to decide to travel until the last moment,” continues the spokesperson of Voyage SNCF. By encouraging our customers to exchange their ticket before the last minute, it is as much to seats available that are present in the circuit. With this new device, we want to release more seats at a time when our clients, the followers of the last minute to organize their trips!” A subject that deserves a translation: The SNCF selling tickets at the last minute at full price it is so much turnover!

With such usage restrictions, France is the only european country to have rules that are as stringent as for a national carrier. In comparison, we are quoting the case of Deutsche Bahn that the Bahncard50 gives a 50% reduction on the full fare Flex second and leaves you free to take the train you want in the day on the same relationship. “In France, the traveller is now in the service of the SNCF”, concludes the FNAUT. In the Face of the outcry, the association in defence questions this could push the société nationale des chemins de fer français to adopt rules that will hijack the passengers on the train.


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