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Iryo sets its eyes on the Barcelona-Paris line after the successful entry of Renfe

Date: May 29, 2024 Time: 21:15:27

Few would have bet that the trains between Spain and France were going to be so much talked about, nor to record good occupancy figures given the very poor figures left by the service managed by Renfe and SNCF in cooperation until 2022. But the opening of the market, The emergence of competition between both companies with promotional prices and the increasing environmental awareness are promoting cross-border railway routes on both sides of the Pyrenees, to the point of attracting new actors who see the route between Barcelona and Paris as an option. unexpected to fatten the accounts.

The last to get on this train have been the Italian state railways, Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), which operate under the Trenitalia brand and are also the majority owners of the private operator Iryo, of which they own 45% of the capital. As reported in various international media, the management of Trenitalia is carrying out various market studies to expand its operations in France, plans that could lead to the soon launch of a new service between the French capital and Barcelona.

At the end of last year, the general director of FS, Luigi Ferraris, already showed his intentions to connect Paris and Madrid by train by the end of 2024. To achieve this, Trenitalia could count on Iryo, which already operates between the two large Spanish cities with increasing employment figures. The complete route, if carried out, would not be less than eight and a half hours. This has, for the moment, discouraged SNCF planes from reaching Madrid with their TGVs, leaving the way free for its subsidiary Ouigo to conquer the most profitable Spanish high-speed route.

Good reception from users.

The latest data revealed by SNCF show how the French operator transported more than half a million passengers on the Paris-Lyon-Barcelona corridor during the first half of 2023. They thus achieved an occupancy rate on their trains of more than 80% and a satisfaction above 90%, as announced in a press release.

Since then, the French state operator has redoubled its bet and increased its offer to the point of running a third train a day in both directions, in order to continue consolidating its market and face the increase in demand during the summer months. Once the tourist season is over, starting October 1 they will return to two daily frequencies in each direction.

Renfe, for its part, began to cover Barcelona-Lyon on July 12 with one train a day in each direction from Monday to Friday. A few days later, on July 28, it incorporated the Madrid-Barcelona-Marseille route with three weekly frequencies in each direction. As it has been revealing, the average occupancy of its trains has exceeded 80%, reaching 100% on high mobility dates. For this reason, the company has decided that both routes will now be operated daily in both directions, something that has already happened on the Lyon route since September 1 and will begin to be carried out on the Marseille route from October 1.

More passengers than seats

If the data given by both companies is broken down, and by virtue of the difference in seats between the trains that provide these services – SNCF’s TGV inOui have 509 seats, compared to the 347 of the AVE provided by Renfe -, it is observed how both companies achieve demands higher than the theoretical point-to-point supply.

SNCF’s theoretical offer during the first six months of the year amounted to more than 360,000 seats, a figure substantially lower than the 500,000 they claim to have sold. For its part, Renfe would have made an offer of more than 32,000 seats between July 13 (when it started going to Lyon) and August 28 (a month after starting trains to Marseille), and they claim to have transported more than 68,000 travelers.

These calculations would leave a ratio of two passengers per seat for the Spanish operator, compared to 1.4 for SNCF, which would denote a high turnover on these trains. In both cases, the trains that cover these international services may be benefiting from the internal Paris-Lyon and Madrid-Barcelona sections, which are the two most used on each network.

Intermediate stops are key.

But the fact that there is more demand than supply is also explained because both companies are managing to attract a significant number of travelers at intermediate stops, especially in the large cities of the south of France such as Nimes or Montpellier. Thus, it can be concluded that a good part of SNCF and Renfe travelers are not making the complete trip between Paris and Barcelona, ​​but rather are using these trains to move internally through France or cross the border.

This new induced demand, together with the early entry of Renfe on French roads, has forced SNCF to redefine its demand studies in its attempt to achieve cross-border connection. The same phenomenon happened on the Paris-Milan route after Trenitalia entered France at the end of 2021, resulting in demand doubling. These facts facilitate the entry of Italians into the French market, an operation almost as complex as that of Renfe, taking another step towards achieving its ambition of connecting Spain and Italy by train.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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