French rail staff condemn internet-only fare

6th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 6 (AFP) - Hundreds of French railway staff protested at the Gare de Lyon in Paris Monday against a new Internet-only service that allows passengers to travel from the capital to Marseille for as little as EUR 19 (USD 25).

PARIS, Dec 6 (AFP) - Hundreds of French railway staff protested at the Gare de Lyon in Paris Monday against a new Internet-only service that allows passengers to travel from the capital to Marseille for as little as EUR 19 (USD 25).

Dubbed iDTGV, the service will operate daily from Monday between Paris and the Mediterranean coast with a 500-person section attached to the regular TGV fast train. The 660 kilometre (410 mile) journey takes three and a half hours.

Reservations can be made four months in advance but only via the Internet, and purchasers print out their own tickets. On board passengers have the choice between an "activities zone" and a "silent zone."

Rail unions fear that the service - which is inspired by low-cost airlines -heralds major job cuts among counter-staff at the state-owned SNCF.

Chanting demonstrators occupied the station concourse and held up the departure of the first iDTGV service early afternoon. They handed out leaflets denouncing France's "first privatised train."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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