Mr. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
The TGV serves 230 destinations in France and Europe.
However, it appears that this tight network, the result of forty years of regional planning, is threatened.
In recent months, you have taken the decision to reduce the number of TGVs in circulation on certain axes, in order to adapt your train offer to the number of passengers which has fallen sharply due to the pandemic.
The objective is laudable, to reduce your costs at a time when SNCF is facing the greatest economic crisis in its history.
But from Dijon to Douai, from Sedan to Agen, travelers and elected officials are worried that this drop in frequency will be sustained after the epidemic.
Above all, that it leads to the disappearance of the least profitable TGV services.
The subject is not new.
It has even been in your company's boxes for several years.
Keep profitable TGV services and link them to loss-making destinations with regional express trains (TER).
For the inhabitants of these municipalities, this would mean the end of the comfort of the TGV and the establishment of connections, experienced as tedious and perceived as a downgrading.
This concern is all the more entrenched since, since the end of last year, the national TGV network has been open to competition.
However, only 40% of TGV connections are profitable.
So, what interest would your company have in serving non-profitable destinations in an open market?
A concern maintained by the State, your sole shareholder, which, on the subject, blows hot and cold.
In 2017, when the Spinetta mission was launched in charge of making reform proposals to reduce the debt of the rail system, the Minister of Transport at the time urged not to evade any subject, and in particular that of the number of TGV services with this sentence. shock: "We do not serve Brive with an A 380."
While the TGV will celebrate its 40th anniversary on September 22 and the choice of its model was dictated by its technology capable of circulating as well on high-speed lines as on conventional lines to directly irrigate the entire territory, the Parisian - Today in France would like to know if you are going to put an end to this model and eliminate TGV services?
Our readers are eager, Mr. Chairman and CEO, to read your answer
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Vincent Vérier for the Parisian - Today in France
Christophe Fanichet's response
Christophe Fanichet heads SNCF Voyageurs.
LP / Olivier Corsan
“Since its launch 40 years ago, the TGV has continued to evolve to be an ecological train, popular, accessible to all and serving France beyond the high-speed lines.
TGVs link regions, support economic life, and support tourism.
We are a company attached to our public utility mission.
There is no question for us to question this model which is part of who we are, ”promises Christophe Fanichet in his response.
If the president of SNCF Voyageurs is telling the truth when he writes to us that: “all the towns served by the TGV in France continue to be served during the crisis.
Even if there are fewer trains in circulation, because it would not be responsible as a company to let them run empty, there are no canceled services ”.
On the other hand, his words are more evasive when it comes to talking about the post-pandemic and the consequences that the crisis could have on the future of certain TGV services: "Our only desire is to get back as quickly as possible. the French aboard our trains, and to run as soon as possible the maximum number of TGV, to choose the train to travel through France while protecting the planet ”, he is content to indicate.
However, reading the last lines of his response suggests a gloomy future for the less profitable routes: “For the TGV to remain this train accessible to everyone and everywhere, we must ensure its economic sustainability.
This TGV model needs the greatest number of travelers, because TGVs are only financed by their customers.
Profitability is not a dirty word, it is vital if we want to continue to provide all routes, improve our service and continue to invest.
Tomorrow, like yesterday, there will always be some profitable TGV connections and many others that are not.
It is not the profitability of each service that we are looking for, it would not make sense, it is the overall economic balance of the TGV model in France.
Mechanisms are possible to strengthen or reinvent this financial solidarity between TGV lines, we are working on it.
»By what means and what devices?
This, Christophe Fanichet does not specify.
The only certainty for him: “Our future competitors, for their part, will not have this concern, and will concentrate only on the most profitable lines.