UPDATE: Cheap TGV ticket is €10

New Ouigo service undercuts low-cost airlines with links to Lyon and Montpellier

19 February 2013

MARSEILLE is just €10 from Paris with the launch of SNCF’s new high-speed, low-cost Ouigo TGV services which go on sale tomorrow.

Using Ryanair’s budget model of taking passengers to out-of-town locations near big cities, the new service travels from the Paris suburb of Marne-la-Vallée to Marseille and Montpellier via Lyon-Saint-Exupéry Airport in a service that undercuts Ryanair itself.

But SNCF exploded pre-launch expectations of tickets at €25 by revealing it would sell 400,000 tickets at just €10 with another one million for sale at €25. Fares would range up to €85 but it is targeting families with under-12s costing just €5.

Groups of more than four can get tickets at €20, bookable two weeks before travel.

Just weeks ago SNCF hailed its two billionth TGV passenger since it launched in 1981 but company president Guillaume Pepy said it carried just 300,000 TGV passengers a day compared to 10 million passengers round the world. He said SNCF needed “to make travel cheaper for people”.

Part of his answer lies in the remodelled and stripped-down sky-blue and mauve Ouigo TGV carriages. They have no bar (to fit in extra passengers) and have 1,268 seats - up from 1,000 in a classic double-decker TGV.

However, from April 1 the low-cost service makes travel to Marseille much cheaper than car, plane ... or train as it is one seventh the cost of a normal TGV.

Add in the cost of the €7-€8 fare of the minimum 45-minute journey from Paris to Marne-la-Vallée and the €10 Ouigo compares to a TGV Loisir journey costing €72, Ryanair €40 and car-share €50. SNCF also has the TGV Prem's ticket at €25 and the idTGV at €19 but these have restrictions.

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