SNCF TGV and Trenitalia frecciarossa Paris-Lyon-Milan

Trainline sees lower prices and more tickets sold following Trenitalia and SNCF competition

SNCF TGV and Trenitalia Frecciarossa trains now competing on Paris-Lyon-Milan SNCF

Since Trenitalia has been running trains on the routes Paris-Lyon and Paris-Milan as a second operator next to SNCF, prices have decreased and train ticket reservations increased, booking platform Trainline reveals following an analysis of booking data. .

Trainline, an independent European platform for train and bus tickets, has assessed the first year of the opening of the rail market to competition in France based on its booking data. Since the opening of the Paris-Lyon route to competition with the entrance of operator Trenitalia in December 2021, the average ticket price fell by 8 per cent in the last quarter of 2022 compared to the same period last year (46 euros in 2021, 42 euros in 2022). On the Paris-Milan route, the drop was even more significant with a decrease of 17 per cent in price. Travellers paid 72 euros in the last three months of 2021, whereas a round-trip ticket this year cost an average of 65 euros.

Other independent booking platform Omio also saw a decrease in ticket prices on the two routes in the last years, they confirm after questions from, as well as an increase in bookings via the platform. On some other lines, where SNCF remains without competition, Trainline notes that fares have increased on the other hand. On the Paris-Bordeaux route, for example, they rose by 6 per cent between the last three months of 2021 and 2022, whereas tickets for the Paris-Montpellier line and the route Paris-Lille went up by 8 and 14 per cent, respectively. According to Trainline, “it shows that the arrival of competition a year ago is indeed a lever to increase the purchasing power of the French”.

The number of total ticket reservations via Trainline also increased, as the last quarter of 2022 saw 172 per cent and 291 percent more ticket reservations respectively on the Paris-Lyon and Paris-Milan routes compared to 2021. The data only concerns journeys booked via the Trainline platform, and not all tickets sold for the route between France and Italy. However, “as it is the main independent European ticketing platform, the data show a global tendency pointing out the increase of tickets sold”, a spokesperson for Trainline said. It is likely that the large increase in tickets booked via Trainline is linked to the arrival of competition, because as an external ticket vendor, tickets can easily be compared on the platform. Via the websites of Trenitalia and SNCF, only their own respective trains can be booked. Also it should be noted that the pandemic still being more present last year than it is now could have influenced the amount of reservations.

Both operators benefit

According to Trainline, SNCF is also benefiting from this modal shift in favour of the train and from the opening up to competition. Its reservations on the lines via Trainline have increased on average by 42 per cent for TGVs and 90 per cent for Ouigo trains. On its website, SNCF also says that it sees the rail liberalisaiton and market opening as a ‘major opportunity for SNCF, because our rail expertise is unmatched anywhere in Europe’.

The train is a popular choice for the holiday season: the number of reservations increased by 99.6 per cent between 17th of December 2022 and the 3rd of January 2023. The top 5 nationalities on the Paris-Milan line between France and Italy in 2022 were unsurprisingly mainly Italian (53 per cent), and French (34 per cent), and further 6 per cent British, 3 per cent American and 1 per cent Belgian.

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Author: Esther Geerts


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