“We are preparing to offer 100% of trains this summer”

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<span class = "image" data-attrib = "Sipa" data-caption = "VERBATIM – SNCF boss Jean-Pierre Farandou explains to JDD how his teams prepare for the French holidays. It emphasizes compliance with health measures and in particular compliance with the rule of opening only 50% of seats for reservation.

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© Sipa
VERBATIM – SNCF boss Jean-Pierre Farandou explains to JDD how his teams prepare for the French holidays. It emphasizes compliance with health measures and in particular compliance with the rule of opening only 50% of seats for reservation.


“We are in the process of successfully deconfining, we will be fully operational for major departures on vacation. The challenges in terms of volumes are major: last year, 25 million passengers were transported from June to September, with, for a weekend of major departures, 1.5 million passengers on our trains over two days. For the deconfinement, we have strengthened all that is sanitary and we see the effects: wearing a mask, it works, the French adopted it very spontaneously with a lot of civility. It is not the SNCF which fixes the sanitary rules but I take the bet that the wearing of the mask will be maintained this summer on our trains.

Read also – Deconfinement: the puzzle of the resumption of public transport

We will also have to continue to manage passenger flows differently. An effective operational measure is the posting of departure docks much earlier. Normally, it takes place 20 minutes before departure, today we already advance it often but it could systematically increase to 40 minutes. This will allow travelers not to park in the station but to spread out along the platforms. On board trains, the catering offer may remain closed, this will also depend on health regulations.

Ready to run over the summer period 50,000 trains

We are preparing to offer 100% of the trains this summer. We relaunched the sale of our places for June, July and August as of Thursday after the Prime Minister’s announcement. If there is a return to confinement, or if the sanitary conditions prevent people from leaving, we will reimburse the places without penalty. We have made things as flexible as possible.

Technically, we are ready to run all of our trains over the summer period, i.e. 50,000 trains, which is considerable. At the moment, we are not allowed to sell more than half of the seats. We are of course strictly following the instructions set by the authorities. If this distancing rule is lifted, the capacities offered will be revised upwards and new places may be put on sale.

SNCF must “be the partner of successful holidays for the French”

The first phase of deconfinement should end in late May. Everyone in tourism, travel and mobility follows the evolution of health rules. We all express the wish that the health situation improves and that the public authorities decide to loosen the health constraints which will start the virtuous circle.

After daily transportation in recent weeks, long-distance transportation topics will enter the government’s agenda. The SNCF must, this year again, be the partner of successful holidays for the French, for all French and throughout the territory. The train goes everywhere: to the beach, to the mountains, to the countryside. TGVs, intercities and regional trains serve all destinations.

The French are used to taking the train because it is safer and more comfortable than taking the car. When you get on the train, the journey begins from the start. The French are also increasingly sensitive to the ecological argument. We know the figures: the train emits 20 times less CO2 than the plane, five times less emits than the car even with four people on board. Choosing the train is making a citizen choice. ”

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