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TGV fare rise to improve services

Increase of up to three per cent will be 'entirely reinvested' as part of an 'emergency plan' to improve punctuality

TGV fares are to rise by between two and three per cent at the end of this month, with the extra money spent on improving some of France's worst-performing routes.

SNCF president Guillaume Pepy said the profits from the fare increase would be "entirely reinvested" and outlined an "emergency plan" to improve 12 key lines.

The routes include Paris-Tours, Paris-Lyon-Marseille, Paris-Amiens and the RER A, which links the Ile-de-France suburbs with the centre of Paris.

Staff on each line will carry out a customer satisfaction survey every month and publish the results. The improvement works will cost "tens of millions of euros", he said.

Pepy said French TGVs were "the cheapest in Europe" and the fare increase was "reasonable". Ticket prices rose by an average of 3.5 per cent last year.

He admitted that the fares system was "complex", but insisted it was "transparent".

In the interview with RTL, LCI and Le Figaro, Pepy also admitted that there were still not enough trains in France arriving on time.

He said every conductor would be given better training on how to keep passengers informed about delays, and they would all be equipped with smartphones to receive the latest information.

The SNCF is facing legal action from a group of passengers who were stranded for hours on a sleeper train on Boxing Day from Strasbourg to the Spanish border which had no driver.

The 600 passengers on board finally reached their destination after 26 hours. Pepy said there had been "human errors" but no "individual fault that merits a sanction".

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