UK rail continues to operate under ‘emergency measures’ whereby the government pockets the fares revenue but does nothing to stimulate the market and fill the empty trains.
By contrast across the Channel we see two operators, Thalys and TGV Lyria, attempting to incentivise the market.
As we noted recently Thalys (which operates between Paris Nord, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany) planned to introduce special tariffs for corporates and these are now available. Companies must register at thalys.com for the “Corporate Fares” promotion.
Business Traveller France reports that throughout October this scheme provides savings of between 8 and 10 per cent.
Thalys lance une offre pour toutes les entreprises https://t.co/oRBdAp4LDg
— BUSINESSTRAVEL.FR (@BTFR) October 1, 2020
But I believe the major benefit for business travellers is the flexibility these tariffs provide.
The ability to make changes and to get a full refund (until the day after departure).
What about TGV Lyria? Here we see the Franco-Swiss operator introduces another scheme offering flexibility for corporate and leisure customers. It covers all tickets and is valid until early January 2021.
Says CEO Fabien Soulet ticket sales “will open on Tuesday October 6 and all our tickets will be exchangeable and refundable until January 4.”
📣 Tous nos billets @TGV_Lyria 🇫🇷🇨🇭sont échangeables et remboursables à 0️⃣ euros / CHF jusqu’au 4️⃣ janvier ! Pour réserver sans risque vos billets 🚄 pour les vacances de fin d’année, ouverture des ventes ce mardi 6/10. https://t.co/8iUHW8pqMI
— Fabien Soulet (@Fabien_Soulet) October 2, 2020
TGV Lyria operates a high-speed service between Paris Gare de Lyon and main destinations in Switzerland.
Here in the UK the Covid-19 situation is changing constantly and this probably influences how the government acts.
Nevertheless rail experts say the government ought to suspend peak hour pricing to reflect changing travel patterns.