SNCF is on track to have a “record turnout” this summer, with reservation levels at the end of July 10% above what was already a record level in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic, the company said on Wednesday. According to SNCF Voyageurs, Friday should be “the busiest day of the summer” with 400,000 travelers expected on the main line.
SNCF has so far sold more than 18 million main line tickets for July and August, the number reaching 22 million by adding TERs marketed on the SNCF Connect website or application, she told AFP. “This is a reservation level that’s up almost 10% on the same day compared to 2019,” she added. Occasional and weekend TER ridership is also excellent, up almost 20% compared to 2019.
The Mediterranean, South West and Brittany are popular
Not surprisingly, the peak weekends of departures on July 8, 9 and 10 (1.3 million passengers by TGV and Intercités), the bridge on July 14 (2 million) and the big crossing on July 29, July 30th and 31st (1 million, and a third of the full TGV) were or will be particularly busy.
The most popular destinations are unsurprisingly the Mediterranean, the South West and Brittany, with the “top 5” most sought-after cities being Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille and Avignon, like last year. The Grand Est is also popular this year, with notable increases in bookings to Nancy (+56% over a year), Metz (+50%) and Reims (+63%).
“More than 6 million seats available on long-distance trains in August”
“All available trains are in circulation this summer,” the public company pointed out, while many trains are already full or have become very expensive without a discount card. It plans to operate 800 TGVs and Intercités each day, slightly more than in 2019 (+2% for TGVs) to ensure the train maintenance schedule is “robust and adapted to this increased traffic”.
“More than 6 million seats are still available on long-distance trains in August,” added SNCF Voyageurs. SNCF always advises its travelers to wear a mask, even if it is not mandatory.
In addition, the public group SNCF Connect will soon add new features: the possibility to select a stage, payment with Apple Pay or “low price alerts” to be informed of the availability of their journeys at a given price. The ability to pay for your train ticket online with (dematerialized) holiday vouchers is popular with customers, according to SNCF Voyages.