Will privatisation improve SNCF services in France?

France’s national rail operator the SNCF became a private company with public capital in January.

The firm agreed to open the rail market to other companies, while the government pays €35billion of its debt.

SNCF staff hired from January do not benefit from the cheminot status, which offers many advantages, such as life-long employment, a specific pension system and strong social security.

From December, national lines – LGVs and TGVs – will face competition. From 2023, competition will be mandatory in every region. 

Paca and Grand Est have already launched a call for tenders to have more lines circulating in their regions. 

Unions argue that the disorganisation of the network is due to the dismantling of SNCF, while users’ associations hope the extra competition will benefit travellers.

Is privatisation a way to improve ...

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