April 24, 2017

Izy boosts capacity after successful first year

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THALYS has marked the first anniversary of its Izy low-fares services between Paris and Brussels by announcing plans to increase capacity and adjust its operating model to “ensure economic robustness.”

Izy carried around 400,000 passengers in its first year of operation with load factors averaging 80% on weekend trains and a customer satisfaction score of 80%.

In the coming months the timetable will be adjusted and trains will operate in multiple to provide additional seats on the busiest services. Standard Thalys trains will be used to supplement the dedicated Izy TGV sets, which will improve overall fleet utilisation.

Thalys says combining trains will minimise track access charges, which account for 30% of Izy’s operating costs, and optimise services to focus on the needs of leisure travellers.

While Izy will operate fewer services, overall seating capacity will be increased by 6% from the middle of the year.

A number of other changes are also being introduced. If standard class is fully-booked, Standard XL seats will be made available at the same fare with the aim of maximising seat occupancy. The Izy timetable will be reviewed on a quarterly basis to respond more effectively to changing demand patterns, for example during school holidays.

Thalys says that the availability of low fares is expanding the rail market on the Paris - Brussels route “The numbers reflect, better than words, the demand we responded to by launching Izy,” says Thalys managing director Mrs Agnes Ogier. “Without it, 60% of Izy passengers would not have taken the train, half of them would not have travelled at all, and many would have caught the bus or driven, with up to eight-times the carbon emissions.”

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