By Adrian Filoche
the users of norman lines soon you will have to change some of your habits. As of July 1, 2022, the normandy region and the SNCF have decided to generalize systematic reservations on board the Krono+ and Krono trains that run to and from Paris. In particular, this marks the end of Tempo tickets, which allowed trains to be taken for one day on a chosen route, without fixed time restrictions, but without the guarantee of a seat. From now on, each traveler will have an assigned seat at the time of booking.
This new provision refers to lines Paris-Rouen-Le Havre, but also Paris-Caen-Cherbourg, Paris-Deauville-Trouville and Paris-Granville. The SNCF assures that this change will also guarantee a better distribution of passengers on all the trains offered. However, some users cringe after this announcement.
The end of last minute travel?
In a statement posted June 14 on Twitter, UDUPC (Paris-Cherbourg Users Union) and ADURN (Association for the Defense of Normandy Railway Users) describe the introduction of mandatory reservations as “an old sea serpent”. User defense associations fear in particular that travelers will no longer be able to travel at the last minute and criticize the “lack of flexibility”.
“The Norman lines are TER, not TGV. These lines must allow everyone to travel freely and whenever they want”, insist the UDUPC and ADURN.
In a press release, the SNCF explains that the decision is due to a “strong demand from travelers to be able to enjoy a seat on each of their trips, providing more comfort and serenity to the trip.” Questioned, Juliette de Beaupuis, communication director of SNCF Normandie, details: “We understand that travelers want to have a guaranteed seat, especially on trips that can be long. A Paris-Cherbourg train takes more than three hours. “And to add:” Traveling on a platform while paying a ticket is not possible. This is not what we want. »
Regarding the lack of flexibility denounced by user associations, the SNCF explains that it will always be possible to catch a train at the last minute if there are seats left. “It works like a TGV. But if the train is full, it is full”, argues Juliette de Beaupuis.
What about prices?
Through this new system, user associations are concerned about a “hidden rise in prices.” The argument used is as follows: “Tempo tickets, without official reservation, were sold cheaper than Krono + tickets with reservation when you buy them late. »
We believe that users cannot plan their trips three months in advance.
“The earlier you book, the more likely you are to benefit from a reduced rate,” explains the SNCF, which claims not to have made “any price increase since 2018” on the Normandy lines.
We did the test by trying to book train tickets on the SNCF Connect app. The chosen profile is that of a 25-year-old user who is a beneficiary of the youth card (that is, a 30% reduction compared to ‘normal’ prices). All tests were done on Wednesday June 15 around 10 am, for a Le Havre-Paris trip.
To reserve a train during the day (that is, a last minute reservation), the average ranges between 18 and 20 euros. For a train on Wednesday June 22, one week in advance, prices range between 11 and 20 euros, but the vast majority of tickets are sold between 18 and 20 euros, especially at peak times. Identical observation for Wednesday June 29.
You have to wait until Wednesday, July 6 to find more interesting rates. There are tickets for about 10 euros, others for 13, even in the busiest hours. In other words, if you now want cheaper tickets, plan your trips (well) in advance!
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