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SNCF: why train tickets are so expensive ?


Yes train tickets are expensive. No, SNCF is not completely responsible. This is what we should remember from the Instagram publication of MEP Pierre Larrouturou, known for his commitment to the climate.

In his post, he refers to a recent study published by Greenpeace which revealed that in France, train tickets are on average 2.6 times more expensive than those of the plane.For example, the price of a Bordeaux-Strasbourg plane ticket cost 83 euros, compared to 186 euros for the train journey, according to the prices recorded on February 9, 2024. Why do such prices? ?

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A post shared by Pierre Larrouturou (@pierre.larrouturou)

France toll champion

The answer to this question lies in the structure of the cost of a train ticket. By breaking down this cost, we discover that only 30% of the ticket goes to the SNCF, 10% corresponds to VAT, 20% covers transport costs. electricity and, more surprisingly, 40% is attributed to rail tolls. The latter allows trains to use the network and constitutes a significant part of the final ticket price.

The high cost of rail tolls in France is particularly striking when compared to other European countries. On average, the toll amounts to 8.09 euros per kilometer in France, compared to only 2.77 euros in Italy and 1.45 euros in Sweden. This notable difference is’ explained by the way in which rail infrastructure is financed in France: while European states have chosen to put their hands in their wallets, the French government has opted for a model where travelers bear this cost.

But not ecology

For Pierre Larrouturou this situation highlights a deeper problem. According to figures from Allianz pro Schiene, a rail defense organization, France is the country in Europe which invests the least in its railway network , with only 46 euros per inhabitant in 2022. In comparison, Germany and the Netherlands (European rail model) are investing 114 euros and 575 euros per inhabitant respectively.

Faced with these figures, the SNCF launched an appeal to the State for a massive investment of 100 billion euros in rail by 2040, i.e. around 6 billion euros per year, in order to promote greener mobility. However, the 2024 budget does not provide even 0.3 billion euros of investment in the train, revealing a lack of & #8217;clear commitment to improving the French rail network.

This pricing and investment situation not only poses a problem of&# 8217;accessibility to rail transport for French citizens but also raises questions about the political will to promote more sustainable transport alternatives.

  • Train tickets in France cost on average 2.6 times more than flying, largely due to the high cost rail toll.
  • The financing of railway infrastructure relies mainly on travelers in France, the country which invests the least in trains in Europe.
  • SNCF calls for massive investment from the State to promote green mobility, but the current budget does not reflect this necessary commitment.
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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116