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Thalys will also launch a low-cost service with its new concept “Izy” (easy). Starting expected on 3 April. This is for the company, 40% held by the SNCB and 60% by SNCF, to counter the effects of competition from buses and carpooling on the axis between the Benelux and Paris. However, it has major differences compared with the Thalys global offer: low prices will be accessible only by lengthening the course, two or three times a day, for a travel of 2:15 to 2:30. The TGV “Izy” run on LGV from Brussels to Arras, after which they join the classic line until Paris Nord. This option reduces the rail toll but puts on the table the discussion of the costs of high speed, especially in France. Two trainsets TGV-Réseau nb 4551 and 4521 will ensure the service “Izy”. They are at the moment in the Technicentre SNCF of Rennes to receive a special film coating to the concept.
Overall, “Izy” allows travel at low prices from 19 euros, exclusively on the Brussels-Paris route, and therefore not toward Amsterdam and Cologne. “Izy” tickets are purchased according to the class of the selected seat. They are neither refundable nor exchangeable and must be buy only by the internet on www.izy.com/fr, or by the mobile site and application OCEBO Mobile, or by onlines agencies affiliated to SNCB and SNCF. The concept is based on a choice of the type of seat to be made by the customer. Thus, the novelty is the selling of non-guaranteed seats, where availability will be managed by the train manager. Other categories of seats, more expensive, will the folding seats on access platforms, but also – and fortunately – conventional seats. More higher is the comfort of the seat, more you pay.
Train frequency shows that the peak hours are exlues (except Sunday) and it’s possible to make a return trip on Saturday to go shopping in Paris with extreme speed! According to its press release, This entry to the world of low-cost is primarily to address to customers who does not take the train or very little. There will be no service on board. Beyond this observation, many observers think that the market Paris-Benelux / Cologne arrived at a certain maturation, as they say in specialized community , so that the growth drivers must be unearthed otherwise, or through a travel concept rethought, either by extending its own market. Thalys seems to have chosen both paths, then that beyond “Izy” services, the extensions of the network to Dortmund on March 21, and to Bordeaux (in 2017?), are expected, but not by “Izy” !