Train passengers in Normandy are frustrated by a dual pricing system imposed on services to Paris and other regions.
It means the price paid for a ticket depends on the machine used at the station.
For example, a journey from Caen to Paris for today (January 19) will cost €36 if the passenger uses a blue self-service machine and chooses a regional Tempo ticket, which is only valid on one given day.
However, if the ticket is bought from a white grandes lignes machine at the same station the national tariff system will apply meaning a ticket for the same journey costs €45.20. The only difference is that this ticket allows you to reserve a seat before you travel.
“This is not normal, this is not the price of a reservation,” Daniel Grébouval, president of the Fédération Nationale des Associations d’Usagers des Transports (FNAUT) told Franceinfo.
“It is very annoying. You don’t know where you are with it anymore,” one passenger added.
“When we are at home with the computer it is simpler so we do that,” said another. “Coming to the station [to buy tickets] opens you up to a commercial strategy.”
Few passengers know about the discrepancy, which arises because some tariffs are decided by the Normandy region and others by SNCF.
Mr Grébouval said: “We demand to have a common tarification process where there isn’t one ticket price decided by one system and another by another.”
SNCF has defended its dual pricing system, with Director of Communications Juliette de Beaupis saying: “I will make a comparison with air travel: when you buy tickets, you are given several tariff options, SNCF does the same on Normandy lines.”
Magali Euverte, the deputy director of Lignes Normandie SNCF also stated that there is “one offer which is the ‘classic’ tariff, and then we have another offer which allows you to reserve your seat before you travel, which is a first on French regional trains.”