SNCF : “The opening up to competition does not guarantee lower prices favourable to the traveller “

Forum. If the announced reform of the SNCF wants to put a stop to the inexorable growth of debt, it is also motivated by the need to transpose the recent european directive which sets the legal framework for the opening up to competition on the high speed lines (HSL) from 2020, and then on the regional (TER, TET), no later than in 2023.

The transport companies are not naive and set their prices in anticipation of the reaction of their competitors and taking into account the preferences of the travelers

In respect of the LGV, the reform advocates “open access” or ” market competition “, which is to share the time slots of traffic flow on a same line so as to allow different operators to run their trains. According to the european directive, the competition must lead to the improvement of services offered to users. What would it be exactly to the French TGV ?

To answer this question, it is necessary to be able to compare the current situation to the one that would prevail after the opening up to competition. This exercise is made possible by means of a simulation tool that we have built taking as reference the links Paris -Bordeaux and Paris – Marseille. This tool is first calibrated to reproduce at best the current situation, in which the SNCF is confronted with the competition of other modes of transport – air, and carpooling among others.

It wants to be realistic : on the one hand, he admits that travelers make their decisions regarding the displacement as a function of the price offered, but also according to their tastes, and the quality assigned to each mode of transport ; on the other hand, it considers that the transport companies are not naive and set their prices in anticipation of the reaction of their competitors and taking into account the preferences of the travelers.

The very low margins on the TGV

A first teaching…

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