NEW low-cost TGV trains – with no first class section, no restaurant and limited luggage allowance - launch this month with adult tickets from €10 and children’s from €5 for a single.
Copying Ryanair’s use of out-of-town locations for its big city gateways, the SNCF’s new Ouigo service will head from Marne-la-Vallée (better known as the ReR stop for Disneyland Paris) to Marseille and Montpellier via Lyon-Saint-Exupéry Airport in a service that will undercut the market leader in low-cost air fares from April 2.
Like budget airlines, they will charge extra for luggage – with one item for free and a maximum of two other cases at €5 each – plus €2 extra for using a power point and €1 for a confirmation text.
The refurbished sky-blue and bubble-gum pink TGVs have been stripped of unnecessary furniture to fit extra seats and will carry 1,268 passengers compared to 1,000 in a typical double-deck-er.
Tickets are only available via the Ouigo website, which will have 400,000 €10 seats available with a further one million at €25 with fares rising to €85 for a single. Fares for under-12s are just €5 and groups of more than four can get tickets at €20.
Ouigo will also serve Lyon directly with six trains a week heading to Lyon Part-Dieu and some commentators have noted that it will make a visit to Disneyland easily do-able in a day, especially with the children’s low fares. Even with a ticket from the centre of Paris to Marne-la-Vallée costing €7.30 from Châtelet, the three-hour service to Marseille will still be much cheaper than alternatives. A typical TGV Loisir ticket to Marseille costs €72 and Ryanair €40.
SNCF chief executive Guillaume Pepy said, however, the service was not intended for people living in the capital. “They are already well served, this is more for people in the suburbs.” He said they were targeting the 75% of people who do not use TGVs and were doing so with tickets that challenged the usual argument of trains being too dear.
TIP: Sign up for the Alerte Résa email service to be informed when cheaper TGV tickets - either iDTGV or Prem’s - go on sale on a specific route. In general, this is three months in advance but tickets go quickly in peak periods.