SNCF again hampered by the Covid-19 epidemic

As in spring and autumn 2020, as in the start of the school year and in winter 2021, the SNCF found itself struck by the health crisis due to Covid-19. The public railway company announced on Friday January 7 that it wanted to adapt, from Monday January 10, what, in its particular language, it calls “His transport plan”. In other words, it will reduce the number of trains running on its lines. “A 30% drop in reservations leads us to reduce the TGV offer to 90% of normal and that of the Intercités to 80%, with the night train supply remaining at 100%”, specifies one of his spokespersons.

So much for the long distance. Regarding daily trains, SNCF informs that more than 90% of regional TER trains will run, but with strong disparities depending on the region. It is the latter who make the final decision to adapt the transport plan. According to a count made from the SNCF TER sites, only two regions (Occitanie and Center-Val de Loire) do not indicate any hourly change linked to the pandemic. Brittany reports the risk, but does not mention lines affected by Covid-19.

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All the other regions mentioned changes in service and schedule. In the Normandy region, for example, trains connecting Paris are not disrupted, but 30% of intraregional TERs are canceled. There remains the particular case of Ile-de-France, which represents the majority of travelers transported by SNCF. The regional authority has asked that the Transiliens transport plan not be changed.

“Several scenarios are intertwined, we explain to the SNCF. For TGVs, it is not the lack of personnel due to the pandemic that leads us to review the offer, but the drop in reservations. In regional trains, on the other hand, we anticipate sick leaves and, in agreement each time with the regions, we prefer to review the timetables rather than risk last-minute cancellations. We give ourselves a margin of adaptation to guarantee the robustness of the service. “

“A pragmatic decision”

SNCF keeps secret the number of its agents affected by SARS-CoV-2 and the unions contacted say they do not have the information. “We are facing, like the rest of society, this fifth wave. No more no less “, underlines a spokesperson. By taking the French incidence rate of 2.67% on January 6 given by Public Health France, SNCF should have identified more than 3,400 positive employees these days. And out of 15,000 trains running per day, 400 should, statistically, no longer have a driver.

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