SNCF will gradually introduce inOui across the high-speed network beginning with the new high-speed line between Tours and Bordeaux, which is scheduled to open on July 2. It is aiming to complete the rollout across all services by 2020.
The move comes following a growing feeling in France that the TGV had become stale, and with increasing numbers of passengers switching from the train to slower but cheaper long-distance bus services, observers felt that SNCF had to act.
To boost TGV and deliver high levels of customer service under the new inOui brand, SNCF says it is investing €1.5bn in its Oceane train fleet as well as retraining 5000 agents to improve customer relations skills. It will also invest €300m on deploying Wi-Fi across its train fleet. It is also overhauling its online ticketing platform to make it easier for passengers to distinguish between its different offerings and to improve the customer experience.
SNCF says that since this new approach to customer service was adopted on its Paris - Lyon services at the start of the year, ridership has increased by 7%.
“InOui is reflective of the transformation that is taking place at SNCF, and will also help to accelerate the many projects that are set to come,” says Ms Rachel Picard, general director SNCF Voyages. “It is also a major undertaking for the 20,000 members of staff who will work each day to evolve this service for our customers.”
Complementing inOui is SNCF’s low-cost Ouigo service, which the company hopes will account for 25% of all high-speed passengers by 2020. Launched in 2013, Ouigo currently carries 5% of all high-speed passengers in France. However, SNCF is set to expand its service offering to reach 30 destinations using a fleet of 34 trains.