Redefining Train Travel Priorities: It’s not Just About Punctuality and Eco-Friendliness

In the world of train travel, one criterion often stands out from the others for travelers. Contrary to what one might think, neither punctuality nor the ecological aspect are the most important elements for those who choose this means of transport. So, what is the main criterion that guides their decisions when it comes to taking the train?

Ticket Cost: A Major Concern

For many travelers, the drop in ticket prices clearly appears to be the priority of the railway companies. According to a recent survey, 39% of passengers believe that making train travel more affordable should be the main objective, far ahead of punctuality or reducing environmental impact.

Financial accessibility is well ahead of other criteria, such as the reduction in delays and cancellations, the reduction of travel time, or the reopening of certain rail lines.

A Varied Demographic Waiting for More Affordable Prices

Price expectations vary across age groups. Young people often benefit fromadvantageous offers such as student subscriptions or unlimited journeys for a fixed monthly payment. On the other hand, working people and seniors, who pay full price for their tickets, show increased concern about the cost of travel.

Here’s a quick overview:

  • 28% of 18-24 year olds want to prioritize lowering prices
  • 43% of 45-54 year olds share this opinion
  • 48% of 55-64 year olds also want cheaper tickets

Solutions to Reduce Ticket Costs

Several levers can be activated to reduce train ticket costs:

  • Opening up to competition : The arrival of new operators, such as Trenitalia in France, has already led to a drop in prices, with a 10% reduction in the average price of a Paris-Lyon flight.
  • Reduction in rail tolls : These tolls can represent up to 40% of the price of a ticket. Reducing these fees could significantly lower final prices for travelers.
  • Subsidies : Subsidizing rail tolls remains a solution linked to political decisions. Currently, in France, the TGV is financed 100% by passenger revenues, unlike the TER and Intercités subsidized respectively by the regions and the State.

Fixed Price Offers: A Solution Popular with Young People

One of the solutions that is gaining popularity, particularly among younger people, is unlimited access to the rail network for a fixed monthly price. For example, the Rail pass French will allow 16-27 year olds to borrow the TER and Intercités at will for €49 per month during the summer of 2024.

This initiative, inspired by the German Deutschland Ticket, could, depending on its success, be extended to other age groups and times of the year.

Provisional Conclusion: The Road Is Still Long

It is essential that railway companies integrate passenger opinions to remain competitive. While punctuality and theecology are certainly important aspects, the main concern remains thefinancial accessibility. By implementing more affordable prices and unlimited offers, companies could not only retain their current customers, but also attract new travelers.