Christmas strike at the SNCF: many customers are still waiting for their 200% compensation

Travelers wait for a train on a platform at Montparnasse station during a strike by SNCF controllers on December 2, 2022 in Paris (AFP/Archives/STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN)

A month after the promise of a generous voucher drawn by the SNCF to extinguish the anger of travelers faced with an unexpected strike by controllers over the Christmas weekend, many users are still waiting and are starting to find the time long.

“Still pending despite several reminders”, an SNCF customer was impatient on Thursday. “A month to the day after the filing of a complaint, (…) I am asked to file a complaint in response to my complaint”, lamented another, exasperated.

On social networks, messages of this type are multiplying to denounce the slowness of the compensation procedure, decided in an emergency, a few days before a strike by controllers which led to the cancellation of hundreds of TGVs and Intercités on 23 , 24 and 25 December.

On December 21, the boss of SNCF Voyageurs Christophe Fanichet unveiled a shock measure to calm the situation: a voucher equivalent to double the price of the canceled ticket, in addition to the exchange or refund of said ticket.

An offer described as unprecedented by the SNCF, which concerned some 200,000 travelers. Since then, few have been able to benefit from the famous 200% voucher.

“It was an exceptional strike action, we decided to refund the tickets at 200% because it was exceptional,” SNCF Voyageurs CEO Christophe Fanichet told AFP.

“This procedure was new, and therefore takes time to be implemented. But all travelers will have the 200%,” he reassured.

– Manual procedure –

“Of the 200,000 travelers affected by the strike, the problem concerns 50,000 people who had already canceled their tickets before taking the 200% approach”, added the director of TGV-Intercités, Alain Krakovitch.

A deserted platform at the Lyon-Part-Dieu station during a strike at the SNCF, December 7, 2022

A deserted platform at the Lyon-Part-Dieu station during a strike at the SNCF, December 7, 2022 (AFP/Archives/OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE)

When a ticket is canceled, the file is deleted from the SNCF reservation system, forcing agents “to do manual processing” for these 50,000 customers, according to Mr. Krakovitch.

But even for travelers who have not canceled their trip, such as those who have managed to exchange their ticket, for example, SNCF says it has encountered “small technical problems”.

Delays are getting longer, and errors are also increasing. As for this AFP journalist whose one-way trip on December 25, worth 59 euros, has been canceled.

She first received a voucher for 212 euros, well above the expected amount, but impossible to use because it was invalid. Before receiving two days later another voucher for … 50 euros. This time less than the 118 euros to which she can claim.

She filed a complaint on the SNCF online form, which has so far remained unanswered.

The examination of all these complaints “takes time”, defends Alain Krakovitch.

“We hope that (the refunds) will be made in the next few weeks. It takes a lot of time to find the link between the customer and his travel file,” he tried to explain.

Travelers whose train has been canceled have until the end of May to make a complaint, ensures the SNCF. The voucher will then be valid for one year from the date of issue.

© 2023 AFP

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