UK-France: No date set for Eurotunnel frequent traveller scheme return
Sale of frequent traveller wallets – which allow customers to buy 10 or more tickets at discounted rates – were suspended in June due to the Covid pandemic
Eurotunnel has temporarily suspended its frequent traveller scheme due to Covid-induced limitations on capacity. Pic: Gary Perkin / Shutterstock
Eurotunnel suspended the sale of new frequent traveller wallets for the second time in June, and a spokesperson has said there is still no date set for when they will be available again.
Frequent traveller wallets come in various different forms but largely comprise a bundle of 10 or more tickets which are bought in advance and allow passengers to travel at discounted rates.
While a single standard ticket may cost between £100 and £120, 10-ticket frequent traveller wallets cost under £50 per journey – although camper vans, trailers, pets and peak-time journeys bring with them a supplementary charge.
Customers can also choose a nominated person with whom they can share their tickets.
Bookings must be made in advance but – subject to availability – can be amended or cancelled up to 24 hours before departure.
“I have been travelling frequently [to France] for the past five years while restoring an old collège in Allier as a gîte,” Connexion reader Simon Gunn who uses the scheme said.
In early 2020, Mr Gunn paid £440 for 10 tickets, less than half the amount he would have paid for single standard off-peak tickets.
“I usually use all the tickets myself but occasionally my partner goes on her own so the facility to transfer tickets is useful.
“I live near Folkestone and it is so much easier, saves a quarter of an hour of car journeys each side of the channel as well as the hour transit time.
“But [now I] will seriously reconsider the season ticket scheme currently offered by P&O Ferries which starts at £56 per single journey. Also, the ferry surcharges for peak travel can usually be avoided by careful planning, whereas the Eurotunnel ones usually cannot.”
The halt in frequent traveller wallet sales does not affect existing tickets, which can be used until June 30, 2022, subject to capacity.
Eurotunnel put the suspension down to the constraints of Covid restrictions, as well as increased demand for tickets over the summer months.
“Additional checks are now required by the authorities and this has affected the time it takes for vehicles to proceed through both check-in and border controls,” Eurotunnel said in a statement in June.
“Unfortunately this will prevent us from carrying our normal levels of traffic over the summer and, as a result, we will have to reduce the number of trains in operation.
“In addition, we have extended the validity of thousands of frequent traveller tickets that could not be used while travel restrictions have been in place.
“As a result, we must ensure there is sufficient space to honour these already sold tickets and so we are presently obliged to suspend the sale of further wallets.”
John Keefe, a spokesperson for Getlink, which operates Eurotunnel services, told The Connexion this week that, “we do plan to review the situation once traffic levels start to return to normal levels.”
However, he could not say when this might be.
Eurotunnel has also said that it plans to introduce a new “off-peak multibuy [deal] later in the year,” depending on availability and Covid travel restrictions.